WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has launched a ballistic missile, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) said Wednesday. However, there has been no official confirmation from the DPRK yet.
Assessments from both the U.S. Defense Department and the ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) showed that the missile was launched at 1:17 p.m. EDT Tuesday, or 3:17 a.m. Seoul time Wednesday (1817 GMT).
The U.S. Defense Department said an initial assessment showed the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The missile was launched from Sain Ni in the DPRK, and traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down into the sea of Japan, said Pentagon spokesman Robert Manning in a statement.
The ROK military conducted a "precision strike" missile launch in response, according to the JCS.
"Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said immediately after the reported launch of the missile.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the missile launch had a higher trajectory than any missile launched by the DPRK thus far.
"It went higher frankly than any previous shots they have taken," said the Pentagon chief while attending a meeting at the White House Tuesday afternoon.
This launch represents "a further grave provocation" and "a serious threat" to international security, said a spokesperson of the European External Action Service in a statement, urging the DPRK to "engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue to pursue the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
"The situation continues along a predictable path," said Avery Goldstein, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, adding: "For now, the hope is that military conflict can be avoided even as each side sticks with its position."
The latest launch came a week after the United States redesignated the DPRK as a "state sponsor of terrorism" and slapped a new round of sanctions against the country, which was seen by some experts as likely to escalate the ongoing confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry called for more efforts to ease tension over the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and settle the issue through dialogue and consultation.