North Korea conducts ballistic missile launch

North Korea conducts ballistic missile launch
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The United States has detected the launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Friday.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the Defense Department is assessing the launch and will have more information soon.

North Korea fired the missile shortly before midnight in Japan on Friday, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, and the missile flew for 45 minutes.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the missile may have landed within 230 miles of his coast, in an area known as the country’s exclusive economic zone.

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Abe has called an emergency meeting of defense officials, Reuters reported. South Korea has also called a national security meeting. 

The Department of Defense (DOD) detected and tracked a single North Korea missile launched Friday at about 10:41 a.m. Eastern time from Mupyong-ni, according to the Pentagon.

After its launch, the missile traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.  

The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile did not pose a threat to North America.

Pentagon officials assessed the projectile as an intercontinental ballistic missile, "as had been expected," and are "working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment."

"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad," the DOD statement adds. "We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation."

The South Korean Yonyap news agency said the missile was launched from Jagang Province.

The latest launch would be the 14th missile test conducted by Pyongyang in 2017, if it is confirmed.

The last known test was July 4, when North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time.

Outside experts said the range of the missile appeared to put Alaska within reach, and many believe North Korea will have the ability to launch a nuclear ICBM by as soon as next year.

—Updated at 1:43 p.m.