NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — World leaders are closely monitoring the situation as North Korea celebrates the launch of what appears to be their longest-range ballistic missile yet.
The KN-17 missile lifted off near the country’s west coast, reaching an altitude of more than 1,300 miles. North Korea says the missile was intentionally fired at a high angle out of consideration for its neighbors.
It traveled more than 400 miles before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, roughly 60 miles from Russia, according to U.S. intelligence. If launched at a normal trajectory, it could’ve reached U.S. military bases in Guam.
International condemnation was quick.
South Korea’s newly-elected President Moon Jae-in said the launch was a “reckless provocation.” While the White House called for stronger sanctions and noted the missile’s proximity to Russia saying that President Donald Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was hosting world leaders including Vladimir Putin at a global forum in Beijing.
Monday morning, Putin called the test “counter-productive and dangerous.”
North Korea has tested dozens of banned missiles in the last year, though this was the first success after a string of recent failures.
“North Korea is capable of continuing to develop longer-range missiles,” physicist David Wright said, adding the regime’s longest test to date shows they are inching closer to a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. “This is an important step there is still a window for trying to negotiate with North Korea capping its nuclear and missile programs at a point where it is much less of a threat to the United States.”
Over the weekend, North Korean officials said they’re open to talks under the right circumstances, but U.S. officials say that missile launches like this one shatter the prospect of dialogue at least any time soon.