U.S. Believes North Korea Likely Tested ICBM; Requests U.N. Security Council Meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14. (KCNA/via Reuters)

The United States now believes North Korea probably test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), but is still reviewing the data, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday, as experts cautioned the U.S. state of Alaska may now be within range.

If confirmed as an ICBM, it would mark a major milestone for North Korea’s missile program and would heighten concern in Washington about Pyongyang’s declared pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed in January that North Korea would never achieve that goal.

The United States requested a closed-door meeting of the 15-member U.N. Security Council about the launch, a session likely to be scheduled for Wednesday, a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The launch, on the eve of Tuesday’s U.S. Independence Day, took place days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of Security Council sanctions.