North Korea successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time on Tuesday, U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News.
The ballistic missile flew longer than any North Korean missile test conducted by the regime to date, U.S. Pacific Command said. This means the regime of Kim Jong Un may now possess the ability to strike Alaska.
North Korea launched a missile on Mother's Day that flew for 30 minutes and reached an altitude 1,000 miles higher than the international space station. Tuesday's missile, however, flew for 37 minutes and reached a height of 1,500 miles, leading missile experts to conclude it could have reached a target 4,000 miles away, putting Alaska in its cross-hairs.
Experts have in the past warned that North Korea, if left unchecked, is on an "inevitable" path to obtaining an ICBM.
North Korea has declared that it could test-launch an ICBM “at any time” from any location set by its Kim, but until now it was unclear whether any of its recent tests have been of an ICBM.
The U.S. on Tuesday requested a closed-door United Nations Security Council meeting to deal with ramifications from the missile launch.
"The threat is much more immediate now," National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters prior to the launch. "So it's clear we can't repeat the same failed approach of the past."
Russia and China, in a joint statement released by each country's foreign ministry on Tuesday, tried to de-escalate the situation by proposing that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and the United States and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises.
The statement was issued following talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is set to have a bilateral meeting with President Trump on Friday at the G-20 summit in Germany, noted Fox News.
North Korea claimed its latest launch marked the “final step” in creating a “powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.” State media said it was ordered and supervised by Kim himself.
The latest test came several days after Trump declared that the U.S. had “run out of patience” with North Korea over its nuclear drive.
Trump has made halting Pyongyang's weapons program a top foreign policy priority. Senior officials said the administration's policy hinges on pressuring North Korea through China.