Now playing
01:40
Haley: US will use military forces if we must
PHOTO: Nicolas Asfouri/Pool/Getty Images/AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS
Now playing
01:27
North, South Korean leaders to meet again
PHOTO: Airbus Defense and Space
Now playing
01:44
New images show N. Korea dismantling test site
PHOTO: CNNI
Now playing
00:40
Pompeo dismisses N. Korea's 'gangster' comments
SINGAPORE - JUNE 12: In this handout photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during their historic U.S.-DPRK summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held the historic meeting between leaders of both countries on Tuesday morning in Singapore, carrying hopes to end decades of hostility and the threat of North Korea
SINGAPORE - JUNE 12: In this handout photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during their historic U.S.-DPRK summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held the historic meeting between leaders of both countries on Tuesday morning in Singapore, carrying hopes to end decades of hostility and the threat of North Korea's nuclear program. (Photo by Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES/Handout/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Handout/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Now playing
01:56
Kim Jong Un snubbed Mike Pompeo, source says
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks on a morning television show from the grounds of the White House, on May 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Yesterday President Donald Trump announced that America was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks on a morning television show from the grounds of the White House, on May 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Yesterday President Donald Trump announced that America was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Now playing
01:34
Bolton: US has plan for denuclearizing N. Korea
PHOTO: Planet Labs Inc.
Now playing
01:25
Satellite images show missile plant construction
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:14
Susan Rice: Kim Jong Un beat Trump at summit
Images of the Norrth Korea missile launch on November 28 taken from Rodong Sinmun, North Korea
Images of the Norrth Korea missile launch on November 28 taken from Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official newspaper.
PHOTO: From Rodong Sinmun
Now playing
02:14
Will North Korea restart nuclear tests?
PHOTO: Photo Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
03:00
Will Kim Jong Un ever give up his nukes?
PHOTO: Photo Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
02:27
What's bringing Kim Jong Un to the table
Now playing
01:51
Who is Kim Jong Un?
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:43
Connolly: Trump comment on Kim 'jaw-dropping'
Now playing
02:31
Moon: The masterful dealmaker
Trump Kim Jong Un comment 04240218
Trump Kim Jong Un comment 04240218
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:26
Trump: Kim Jong Un very open and honorable
Now playing
03:06
Finding art on the edge of the DMZ

Story highlights

The first stage of the missile is believed to be a KN-17 liquid-fueled missile

But at some point prior to launch, the North Koreans attached a second stage atop that missile

(CNN) —  

The two-stage missile launched Tuesday by North Korea will be classified by US intelligence as a brand-new missile that has not been seen before, US officials told CNN.

The first stage of the missile is believed to be a KN-17 liquid fueled missile, which is well-known to US intelligence and has been previously launched by North Korea.

Ahead of Tuesday’s missile test, US satellites had seen evidence the KN-17 missile was being prepared for launch.

But at some point prior to launch, the North Koreans attached a second stage atop that missile.

The focus now is on the capability of that second stage, and how it technically contributed to making Pyongyang’s latest test its first ever intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

A US defense official said that the latest military assessment suggests the new North Korean missile has a theoretical range of about 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles), if the missile was shot at a more standard trajectory than Tuesday’s test.

A missile is classified as an ICBM if it can fly a minimum of 5,500 kilometers, which would mean that Pyongyang’s missile is on the line between an intercontinental and intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

At that range, a North Korean missile could potentially strike Alaska. At the same time, Pyongyang is still several key developments away from actually deploying an ICBM that could carry a nuclear weapon.

CNN has reported that the second stage had a separate 30-second burn cycle, which allowed the missile to travel the extra distance to classify it as an ICBM.

Another defense official says they are still assessing whether the re-entry of the missile was fully controlled. For a missile to successfully strike a target it would have to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere without breaking up.

During a United Nations Security Council meeting Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called Pyongyang’s ICBM missile test a “clear and sharp military escalation.” She said that US military action remained on the table to stop North Korea from threatening the US and its allies.

“The US is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” Haley said. “One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction. We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us, and of addressing those who supply the threats.”

Haley called for an “escalated diplomatic and economic response” and said the US would have a new UN resolution in the coming days.

Haley said the US will also “look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime,” and specifically called out China, noting that 90% of trade with North Korea comes from China.

“Much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions rests with China,” she said. “We will work with China … but we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day.”

At the Pentagon, spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, confirmed Wednesday that the missile was “not one we’ve seen before.”

Davis told reporters the ICBM was detected and tracked for 37 minutes, the longest flight time for a North Korean missile. It was launched from Panghyon aircraft plant, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Pyongyang, the first time the North Koreans had used that site for a missile test, he said.

Davis condemned the launch as escalatory and destabilizing, as well as dangerous.

“This missile flew through busy airspace used by commercial airliners,” he said. “It flew into space, it landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in an area that is used by commercial and fishing vessels – all of this completely uncoordinated.”

On Monday evening, a US Pacific Command statement initially described the missile as an intermediate range, but further intelligence assessments changed the classification.

“Upon further assessment, it was judged that it was likely capable of going in excess of 5,500 kilometers, which therefore makes it an ICBM,” Davis said.

The imagery showing a KN-17 is in part what led the US to initially believe it was a shorter-range missile.

North Korea announced Tuesday it had successfully tested an ICBM for the first time, which Pyongyang claimed could “reach anywhere in the world.”

North Korean state media said the missile reached an altitude of more than 2,800 kilometers (1,741 miles), before it splashed down in the sea off the Korean Peninsula 930 kilometers (578 miles) from the launch site.

The US and South Korea announced they had conducted a joint exercise in response to the launch, a demonstration that South Korea said was “intended as a strong warning against North Korean provocation.”