HomeUS News updateNorth Korea launches ICBM before South Korea-Japan summit

North Korea launches ICBM before South Korea-Japan summit

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday in a show of military power just hours before the leaders of South Korea and Japan meet at a Tokyo summit expected to be hit by North Korean nuclear threats. Was.

The launch, the North’s first ICBM test in a month and third weapon test this week, also comes as joint military exercises by South Korean and US troops continue, which Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for an invasion.

South Korea’s military said the North Korean ICBM flew toward the eastern waters of the Korean peninsula after being launched from the North’s capital, Pyongyang, at around 7:10 a.m. (6:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday). The ICBM launched at a steep angle and traveled approximately 620 miles before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, the statement said.

It was not immediately known which ICBM was launched, but North Korea’s long-range missiles are primarily designed to strike the US. The techniques for building warheads small enough to be placed on those missiles and for protecting the warheads during atmospheric reentry have been mastered.

Before leaving for Tokyo for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said, “North Korea’s reckless provocations will pay a clear price.”

During an emergency security meeting on the North Korean launch, Yoon instructed the South Korean military to fully step up its ongoing drills with the US military, intensify some planned joint exercises, and conduct the Seoul-Washington- Strengthen Tokyo security cooperation. Yoon’s office.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it would maintain firm preparedness based on military capability to respond to any provocation by North Korea.

In Tokyo, Kishida said: “We must further strengthen cooperation between allies and like-minded countries.” He declined to comment on North Korea’s possible motivations behind the launch.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile landed in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone after flying for about an hour.

The North’s offensive weapons test is widely expected; Leader Kim Jong Un last week ordered his military to be ready to repel “frantic war preparation moves” by his country’s rivals, referring to ongoing large-scale drills between the US and South Korea.

North Korea has long argued that US-South Korean military exercises are evidence of its hostile policies against North Korea, although Washington and Seoul say they have no intention of invading the North. Many experts say North Korea uses its rivals’ drills as a pretext to build up its own nuclear capability to pressure the United States into making concessions, such as easing international sanctions.

After conducting a record number of missile tests last year, North Korea has ramped up its test activities this year, including the launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM on February 18. Following that ICBM launch, North Korea said the test was intended to further enhance its capability to strike a “lethal” nuclear strike against its rivals.

Pyongyang also fired cruise missiles from a submarine this week and sent short-range ballistic missiles into its territory in the East Sea. Last week, North Korea fired at least six short-range ballistic missiles from a western coastal area under Kim’s watch, an incident described by state media as a mock attack on an unspecified South Korean airspace.

The ongoing US-South Korean exercises that began on Monday and are scheduled to continue through March 23 include computer simulations and live-fire field exercises.



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