North Korea's Latest Missile Launch Could Have Hit the White House

North Korea launched on Tuesday an intercontinental missile capable of reaching the White House. Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images

North Korea could now be capable of hitting the Oval Office with a missile.

A security expert said the missile North Korea launched Tuesday in its latest weapons provocation traveled far enough to attack Washington, D.C., or just about anywhere else in America, for that matter.

"...if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile...would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States," David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program, wrote on the organization's website.

Wright and Pentagon officials said the missile appeared to travel farther than any other tested so far by Kim Jong Un's regime.

The intercontinental ballistic missile flew about 54 minutes along a high-arcing path and reached a maximum altitude nearly 2,800 miles—10 times higher than the International Space Station satellite that orbits the Earth, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. It splashed down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan's economic exclusion zone, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said in a statement.

But despite the increased capability since North Korea's last launch—when a missile traveled for 50 minutes and approximately 620 miles in September—Wright didn't believe the latest missile could cover the same distance with a nuclear payload.

Wright wrote that he suspects this missile was likely carrying a lightweight mock warhead. Armed with a significantly heavier nuclear warhead, it would not be able to cover that great a distance, he said.

The missile launch comes two weeks after President Donald Trump's 12-day Asia tour, where he urged the leaders of North Korea's neighboring nations to ramp up pressure for Kim to cool his rapidly expanding missile program.

Trump said Tuesday that he will "take care" of North Korea after its missile test, but gave no other details.