North Korea

Pentagon reveals details on weekend launch of North Korean missile

Political panel weighs in on the White House response

 

The ballistic missile that North Korea claimed it successfully test-fired over the weekend "probably" traveled farther than any other missile of its type launched by the rogue nation, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters on Monday.

The launch represented a “clear grave threat to our national security,” Capt. Jeff Davis said.

The missile traveled roughly 300 miles into the Sea of Japan but did not enter Japanese waters. It was launched on a “high trajectory” traveling for 14 minutes before splashing down, one U.S. official told Fox News.

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The KN-11-mod 2 missile was launched from land in the northwest region of the communist regime Saturday evening. North Korea's 33-year-old dictator, Kim Jong Un, was present at the test site, according to officials.

The KN-11 also was tested successfully back in August, officials said. It had a range of 1,600 miles and used solid fuel, enabling the missile to be moved around easier and requiring less maintenance than liquid fuel. It also was originally designed to be launched from a submarine.

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The KN-11 has a shorter range than the BM-25 Musudan which was tested in June. The Musudan has a range of up to 2,500 miles. “Can you imagine if that test hadn’t been successful and the missile had hit Japan?” one former senior U.S. official said.

In the past few weeks, the U.S. Navy has positioned two warships with anti-ballistic missile capability in the Sea of Japan, part of a “heightened presence,” as one official called it. The Pentagon is not said to be overly worried about this latest launch, but is concerned about an intercontinental ballistic missile that could one day reach the U.S.

The North Korean missile test this weekend coincided with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit with President Trump.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made his first overseas visit to South Korea and Japan earlier this month.

North Korea conducted 24 missile tests and two nuclear tests last year.

“Given the current circumstances, relevant parties should not engage in mutually provocative moves which could heighten regional tensions. All parties need to exercise restraint in a joint effort to maintain regional peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang responded.

Fox News' Rich Edson contributed to this report.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews