White House condemns North Korea's launch of an ICBM with potential to reach continental U.S.

A passerby looks at a television screen.
A passerby looks at a television screen in Tokyo showing a news report about North Korea firing a ballistic missile on Friday. (Kyodo via Reuters)

U.S. officials on Friday condemned North Korea’s launch of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, which the Japanese defense minister said has the potential to reach the entire continental United States.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok, Vice President Kamala Harris called the launch a “brazen violation” of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Harris convened an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch in a previously unscheduled media briefing.

“It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily raises tensions,” Harris said. “We strongly condemn these actions, and we again call for North Korea to stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts.”

Kamala Harris sits, socially distanced, at a table with other leaders in front of a sign that reads: APEC 2022 Thailand.
Vice President Kamala Harris holds an emergency meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Friday to discuss North Korea's ballistic missile launch. (Haiyun Jiang/Pool Photo via AP)

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the launch demonstrates the threat North Korea’s “unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose” to its neighbors, including South Korea and Japan.

According to South Korean and Japanese officials, the suspected ICBM was launched from the Soonan area in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang early Friday and landed in waters west of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

According to Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, the missile is believed to have flown about 620 miles at a high trajectory and reached a maximum altitude of 3,728 miles.

Depending on the weight of any warhead it carried, Hamada estimated the missile could have a range of more than 9,000 miles, “in which case, all of the U.S. mainland would be included in its range,” he said.

Fighter jets flying in formation over mountains.
South Korean and U.S. fighter jets take part in a joint air drill in South Korea on Friday. (South Korean Defense Ministry via AP)

“North Korea is continuing to carry out provocative actions at a frequency never seen before,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at the APEC summit. “There is the possibility that North Korea will launch further missiles.”

Harris urged North Korea to refrain from further provocation and engage in diplomatic dialogue. “The countries represented here will continue to urge North Korea to commit to serious and sustained diplomacy,” she said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has long been known to conduct such missile tests during key international summits.

Earlier this week, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile in apparent protest of a trilateral summit in Cambodia among Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and President Biden.