N Korea fires ICBM ahead of S Korea’s president visit to Japan

In this photo, a Korean People’s Army unit in charge of an operational mission on the Western Front fires missiles at an undisclosed location in North Korea on March 15, 2023. — AFP

Seoul: North Korea on Thursday fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, hours before South Korea’s president was due to depart for Tokyo for a summit expected to be armed with nuclear weapons. Methods of coping with the North will be discussed.

What has North Korea done? Multiple missile launches This week between ongoing joint South Korea-U.S Pyongyang condemns the military exercises as hostile acts.

The missile, which was fired from Pyongyang at 7:10 a.m. (2210 GMT Wednesday), flew at an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the ICBM-type projectile appeared to have flown at an altitude of more than 6,000 kilometers for about 70 minutes.

The ministry said it likely landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which is 200 kilometers west of Oshima-Oshima island in northern Japan’s Hokkaido.

While Japan has not confirmed any information about the missile damage, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he had protested through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.

“North Korea’s missile launch is a barbaric act that raises its provocation throughout the international community,” Matsuno said. “We will reaffirm close cooperation with South Korea and the United States for the complete denuclearization of North Korea at the Japan-South Korea summit today.”

South Korea convened a meeting of the National Security Council and “strongly condemned” the missile test as a serious act of provocation and a threat to international peace.

South Korean President Yoon Seok-yul ordered his country’s military to carry out drills with the United States as planned, saying North Korea would pay for its “reckless provocations,” according to his office.

South Korean and U.S. forces on Monday began 11 days of joint exercises, dubbed “Freedom Shield 23,” not seen since 2017, to counter North Korea’s growing threats.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after the launch that regional peace and stability was the most important issue, and White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the U.S. was calling North Korea’s latest move to unnecessarily escalate tensions in the region. Tareen “strongly condemns” the launch.

US Indo-Pacific Command has assessed that the missile poses no immediate threat to US personnel or the region or its allies.


The opening came Thursday as Yun traveled to Japan for the first summit in more than a decade with Kishida, who has put aside historical, political and economic disputes in the name of better cooperation to confront North Korea and other challenges. It was part of an effort to control.

As part of the effort, the two US allies have agreed to monitor North Korea’s missile launches in real-time, and vowed to deepen military cooperation.

“Today’s missile launch is a clear protest not only to South Korea-US drills but also to South Korea and Japan increasing their military cooperation,” said Cheong Seong Chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute.

“But such a protest would force the Yun government to further strengthen cooperation with Japan and trilaterally with the United States, and that would have a boomerang effect,” he added.

It was not immediately clear what type of ICBM was launched on Thursday, but a South Korean military official said the missile appeared to be similar to the Hwasong-17 – a liquid-fueled missile North Korea developed. has experienced before – and it was unlikely. A new solid fuel ICBM.

The Hwasong-17 is the North’s largest missile and is the world’s largest road-mobile, liquid-fueled ICBM, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States.

Some analysts have speculated that it may carry multiple warheads and decoys to better penetrate missile defenses.

North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs are banned under UN Security Council resolutions, but Pyongyang says the weapons development is necessary to counter the “hostile policies” of Washington and its allies. Is.

North Korea’s official news agency KCNA It said on Sunday that a ruling party meeting led by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un discussed and decided on “important practical” war deterrence measures, saying that “provocations by the US and South Korea are a red line.” are arriving.”

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