North Korea Test-Launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

U.S. officials said North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

Martin said U.S. military officials are not disputing outside experts who said if the missile had been fired on a normal trajectory, that was intended to take advantage of the range these rockets could reach, that missile could have gone in excess of 4,000 miles – enough to reach Alaska, although not the lower 48 United States, and not Hawaii.

The U.S. on Tuesday requested a closed-door United Nations Security Council meeting to deal with ramifications from the missile launch.

Ballistic Missile

"The threat is much more immediate now," National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters prior to the launch. "So it's clear we can't repeat the same failed approach of the past."

He added: "So the president has directed us not to do that, and to prepare a range of options – including a military option, which nobody wants to take, right?"

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned what he acknowledged was an ICBM test, saying the launch represents "a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world."

The news means an already intractable problem posed by Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear and missile programs just became more difficult for the United States and its regional allies.

“It’s really, really significant from a technological and political standpoint,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California who studies North Korea’s missile program.

For the first time since the 1990s, the Pentagon ordered two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups to be positioned off the Korean Peninsula last month. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also said the U.S. could use other means to undercut and diminish Pyongyang.