The US assessed that the missile was not fired from a submarine although the tested missile is designed to function as a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the US official, who was familiar with the situation, said.
“Currently, our forces are maintaining readiness posture while watching related movements in preparation against additional launches,” South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement Wednesday.
South Korea said it was analyzing the incident “with the emphasis on the possibility that today’s launch by North Korea is a test of a SLBM,” a statement from the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, said.
The missile was launched from near Wonsan, a city in Kangwon Province on North Korea’s east coast and flew for a distance of 450 kilometers (280 miles) before landing in waters off Japan. It reached an altitude of 910 kilometers (565 miles) and is presumed to be a Pukkuksong missile, the JCS statement said.
Initially, South Korea reported that Pyongyang had launched two unidentified projectiles.
Japan said Wednesday that North Korea launched one ballistic missiles that split into two pieces after launch. One of the pieces reached its Economic Exclusive Zone off Shimane prefecture at 7:26 a.m. local time, according to Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. No damage has been reported so far.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the press from his residences that the launch of a ballistic missile was in violation of the United Nations resolution and that Japan would “lodge stern protests against it and condemn such actions.”
The images from the Middlebury Institute and Planet Labs, appear to show North Korea making progress readying the vessel at the Sinpo South Naval Shipyard along the central coast of the country off the Sea of Japan.
At an NSC senior committee emergency meeting Wednesday, officials “expressed their strong concerns that North Korea has tested this missile ahead of resumption of negotiation with the US on Oct 5,” the statement continued. The NSC said it was working closely with the US to investigate the nature of the launch.
The launch happened a day after the US state department said that Washington and Pyongyang plan to resume working-level talks next week.
The last time the two leaders met was in June in the Korean Demilitarized Zone where they agreed to revive staff-level talks.
In his first public remarks since leaving his former role in the Trump administration three weeks ago, Bolton said Kim will “do whatever he can” to keep a nuclear weapons capability.
A US official with knowledge of the initial reports of a North Korean launch told CNN that the test was not a surprise. The US was expecting a likely North Korean test launch because there was evidence of preparations underway at launch sites. The source said this launch appears to be similar to recent launches by North Korea.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Nicole Gaouette contributed.