U.S. detects North Korea missile launch

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has detected a ballistic missile launch out of North Korea at approximately 8:45 am. MDT on Friday, the Pentagon confirmed.

“I have received the first report that North Korea again launched a missile and it possibly landed inside the exclusive economic zone,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile launched by North Korea possibly flew for approximately 45 minutes.

Suga told reporters there is no damage to any vessel or aircraft — adding the missile is believed to have fallen in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff have also confirmed North Korea fired an unidentified missile.

The U.S. believes North Korea will be able to launch a reliable nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile by early 2018, a U.S. official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment said Wednesday.

That would be an acceleration of two years from previous estimates that put Pyongyang three to five years from fully developing long-range missile capabilities.

The official clarified that while North Korea can currently get a missile “off the ground,” there are still a lot of undetermined variables about guidance, re-entry and the ability to hit a specific target.

Reports say the ground range of the test was around 1,000 kilometers. Reports also say the maximum altitude of the launch was 2,300 miles with a flight time of about 47 minutes.

The US believes that North Korea will be able to launch a reliable nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile by early 2018, a US official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

That would be an acceleration of two years from previous estimates that put Pyongyang three to five years from fully developing long-range missile capabilities.

The official clarified that while North Korea can currently get a missile “off the ground,” there are still a lot of undetermined variables about guidance, re-entry and the ability to hit a specific target.

Pyongyang conducted its last ICBM test on July 4. Friday’s test would mark North Korea’s 12th missile test this year.