PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — U.S. authorities said on Wednesday that the intercontinental ballistic missile fired by North Korea on Tuesday was a new type of missile that the country had never seen before.
North Korea fired the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, while the United States was celebrating its Independence Day. According to U.S. Pacific Command, the missile flew for 37 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Defense Department told NBC News that the missile was a new type of missile that U.S. had never seen before. Davis confirmed the missile was capable of travelling more than 3,500 miles, meaning it would be able to reach Alaska.
CNN reported that the Hwasong-14 appeared to have a redesigned second stage. The second stage reportedly had a separate 30-second burn cycle which allowed the missile to travel farther, making it an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Any missile with a range greater than 3,420 miles or 5,500 km is considered an ICBM.
North Korea said the missile was capable of carrying a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead” but military experts doubt the country has the ability to develop a nuclear warhead that can be fitted into long-range missiles.
The United States conducted a joint missile exercise with South Korea in response to North Korea’s ICBM test.
“The US is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction. We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us, and of addressing those who supply the threats,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said during a United Nations Security Council meeting Wednesday.