North Korea claimed Tuesday it had successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile the could put it in reach of striking the U.S. mainland.
This would be a major advance for the East Asian tyranny, and might cause an Independence Day acceleration of concern at the Pentagon.
U.S. Pacific Command initially said the rogue country had tested an intermediate range ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan Monday and that it was assessing the test with partner countries.
But South Korea President Moon Jae-In said the launch appeared to be a mid- to long-range missile and an ICBM test could not be ruled out.
North Korea has ramped up its efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped ICBM capable of reaching the United States, alarming America's defense community and prompting President Trump's administration to pressure China to help defuse the situation.
Soon after the missile launch Monday, President Trump tweeted out another warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and entreaty to the government in Beijing.
"Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!" Trump wrote.
Analyst believe North Korea already has the capablility to strike the South and Japan with missiles and the House last month considered legislation calling for a strategy to protect Hawaii from threats of longer range missiles.
The North Korean news agency said the missile was a Hwasong-14 ICBM. The country also claimed the test was the final step in creating a "confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth," according to the Associated Press.
A U.S. missile scientist quoted by the AP said reported altitudes and trajectories indicate the tested missile could be capable of reaching Alaska.