“The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat , a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace, and certainly, the United States,” the defense secretary Jim Mattis said. North Korea said Wednesday that it had successfully tested its Hwasong-15, a newly developed ICBM that it said could deliver heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, watched the launch, reading a prepared statement on the North’s Central Television.
“It’s muscle-flexing to show the U.S. that they’re going to continue to make progress,” said David Wright, a scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In a statement, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson condemned the launch. But he added, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now.” After the launch, the United Nations Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on the issue for Wednesday afternoon. North Korea has persisted in its nuclear weapons and missile development despite nine rounds of sanctions that the Security Council has imposed since its first nuclear test in 2006.