The U.S. and Republic of Korea tested precision firing capabilities in response to North Korea's ICBM launch Tuesday. (Image: Eighth United States Army)
U.S. Capitol (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) -
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Tuesday that North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Associated Press reports.
It's the latest, and most successful test in a series of missile launches from the communist country.
Tillerson said the test represents a new escalation of the threat posed to the United States and the world by North Korea.
The AP also reports that a U.S. scientist examined the height and distance of the missile, and said it could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska. But U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said the threat to Hawaii is less clear.
"We should be concerned that it's an ICBM. However, I do not believe that there's any indication that Kim Jong-un and the North Koreans have ability to hit Hawaii and that they can actually nuclear-rize it," Hanabusa said.
Tillerson said the U.S. will bring North Korea's action before the United Nations Security Council.
President Trump was quick to respond to the test Tuesday as he criticized the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, and called for an end to the "nonsense once and for all!"
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea.....
Experts said these missile tests carry an obvious political motive to force the U.S. and its allies to negotiate with North Korea.
"We have to keep in mind that the North Korean goal here is not to use the missile, not to fire a missile at Hawaii or any other U.S. city. The goal is to attain the capability and then use that as leverage to gain concessions from the United States," said Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center.
But the U.S. and South Korea are making no concessions.
The Eighth U.S. Army and Republic of Korea conducted a combined exercise testing the United States' precision firing capabilities, firing missiles aimed at the territorial waters of South Korea along the East Coast. They called the North Korea's launch "destabilizing and unlawful actions."
The U.S. and ROK remain allies, and said they are committed to peace along the Korean Peninsula, and throughout the Asia-Pacific.