SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the East Sea Wednesday morning near the waters off the coastal town of Wonsan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed to ABC NEWS.
The missile, capable of launching from a submarine, traveled 280 miles and hit a maximum altitude of 569 miles.
This is the highest altitude in almost two years meaning it could fly as far as the U.S. mainland.
South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff confirms to ABC News that it was fired from above waters but would not confirm whether it was launched from a submarine or a platform.
“Submarines are hard to detect and these can be used to attack the States,” Park Hwi-rak, Politics professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, told ABC News.
“SLBM is actually a very dangerous weapon. It uses a submarine to covertly approach the target and launch an attack. It's dangerous. So by firing this missile, North Korea seems to be resorting to shock tactics to convey that the regime is fully capable of deploying such destructive weapon,” Moon Sung-muk, Researcher at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, told ABC News.
The U.S. State Department in a statement called on North Korea "to refrain from provocations, abide by their obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations to do their part to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and achieve denuclearization."
Analysts in Seoul say there may be multiple reasons why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues provocative actions while suggesting working-level talks with the United States to discuss denulearization this Saturday.
“North's position stipulates that the negotiations with the U.S. are not "unilateral negotiations regarding denuclearization" but "negotiations on arms reduction with the U.S." By demonstrating such a missile capability system, North Korea aims to lead the U.S.-North Korea negotiations in the direction to reduce mutual arms instead of a one-sided negotiation,” Woo Jung-yeop, Head of the Center for American Studies at Seoul-based Sejong Institute, told ABC News.
This is North Korea’s 11th missile launch this year alone.
ABC News’ Hakyung Kate Lee, Hansol Park and Kapkoo Kwon contributed to this report.