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Congressman: New North Korea ICBM Test 'Probably Put U.S. West Coast in Range'

WASHINGTON -- North Korea tested a missile today that "probably" demonstrated their capability to strike America's Pacific Coast, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee warned.

Defense Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement today that the Pentagon "tracked a single North Korea missile launch today at about 10:41 a.m. EDT."

"We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected," Davis said. "The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment."

"The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America."

Davis added that America's "commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad," and "we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation."

Capt. Greg Hicks, spokesman for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, said the chairman and Adm. Harry Harris of U.S. Pacific Command called South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Lee Sun Jin today and "discussed military response options."

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile traveled for about 45 minutes, exceeding Pyongyang's Fourth of July launch of a Hwasong 14 capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii by about five minutes. Today's ICBM splashed down within 200 miles west of Hokkaido.

"The missile North Korea just tested probably put U.S. West Coast in range," Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, tweeted. "Now is the time to ramp up sanctions. China cannot have it both ways; it cannot do business as usual with both the U.S. and while subsidizing North Korea."

"But we need to be ready to talk too, and ready to accept a freeze, something far less than denuclearization for the foreseeable future," Sherman added.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, authored the North Korean sanctions signed into law last year and this month introduced a bipartisan bill to block off access to the U.S. financial system from any entity that does business with North Korea. His legislation would also impose new sanctions related to North Korean labor trafficking. Russia, for example, has been using North Korean slave labor to build a World Cup stadium.

“As North Korea’s Kim Jong-un continues to defy international sanctions and threaten the United States and our allies with another ballistic missile launch, our response is clear: we will not tolerate this belligerent behavior,” Gardner said today.