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Japan says North Korean missiles could theoretically reach the US mainland

(CNN) – In theory, the continental United States could be included in range of the latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tested in North Korea on Friday, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said, depending, among other factors, on the weight of the attached warhead. It’s a statement.

“The ballistic missile of the ICBM category that was launched this time can reach a range of more than 15,000 km when calculated on the basis of the flight distance of these ICBMs,” Hamada said on Friday. “It depends on the weight of the warhead, but in this case, the continental United States will be included in the range.”

However, this is not the first time that experts and officials have assessed that an ICBM tested by North Korea could theoretically reach the US mainland. An intercontinental ballistic missile was launched in March this year and another in 2017 that is believed to have theoretically managed to reach the continental United States.

James Mattis, then US Secretary of Defense, said of the missile, which was launched in 2017, that it showed North Korea had the ability to strike “anywhere in the world”.

Japan’s Defense Ministry also released more details about the launch on Friday. He said details are still being worked out, but the ballistic missile launched from North Korea flew for about 69 minutes and is believed to have fallen into the Sea of ​​Japan 200 kilometers west of Oshima Island in Hokkaido around 9 p.m. 23 am local time. (11:00 p.m. ET).

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The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that the flight distance of the missile launched on Friday is estimated at about 1,000 km, and the maximum altitude is about 6,000 km.

The ministry also said that when North Korea fired an ICBM from the outskirts of Pyongyang at around 10:14 a.m. local time on Friday, the Japanese Ministry of Defense sent in F-15, U-125A and P-3C aircraft.

“During its mission, the F-15 confirmed in the air what was presumably related to the launched ballistic missile,” the Japanese Ministry of Defense said.