North Korea launches intercontinental ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan, in “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions

Seoul, South Korea

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, the second missile test by Kim Jong Un’s regime in two days, in actions condemned by the United States and its allies as a flagrant violation of multiple United Nations resolutions.

The ICBM was launched around 10:15 a.m. local time from Sunan District in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, flying about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

It likely fell in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Japan’s Oshima Island, according to Japan’s Coast Guard, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. It did not fly over Japan.

“North Korea continues to carry out provocative actions at an unprecedented pace,” Kishida told reporters on Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

He said, “I want to reiterate that we cannot accept such actions.”

He said the Japanese government will continue to collect and analyze information and provide immediate updates to the public. So far, Kishida added, there have been no reports of damage to ships at sea.

The ICBM reached an altitude of about 6,100 kilometers (3,790 miles) at Mach 22, or 22 times the speed of sound, according to JCS, which said the details were being analyzed by intelligence authorities in South Korea and the United States.

US Vice President Kamala Harris met Friday morning on the sidelines of the APEC summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch, in a previously unscheduled media briefing.

“I have asked this group of allies and partners to come together to join us in condemning North Korea’s launch of long-range ballistic missiles,” she said. “I have also asked them to join so that we as allies and partners can consult on next steps. This recent behavior by North Korea is a flagrant violation of multiple UN security resolutions. It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily increases tensions.”

South Korean President Yoon Sok Yul on Friday also ordered the “active implementation” of the enhanced extended deterrence measures against North Korea.

The president said Seoul will strengthen its alliance with Washington, and strengthen its defense posture and security cooperation with the United States and Japan.

“The government will not tolerate North Korean provocations,” his office said in a statement. “The government has tremendous responsiveness and willingness to respond immediately to any provocations from North Korea, so North Korea should not misjudge this matter.”

She added that North Korea could not gain anything through constant provocations, while warning that sanctions against North Korea would only get stronger, leading to further international isolation for Pyongyang.

The missile launched on Friday was short in height and distance by about 100 kilometers compared to Pyongyang’s March 24 missile test, which marked the highest altitude and longest duration of any North Korean missile ever tested, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday. Location. the time. The agency stated that this missile reached a height of 6248.5 kilometers (3905 miles) and flew a distance of 1090 kilometers (681 miles).

The Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a major provocation and an act of grave threat,” warning the North of violating a United Nations Security Council resolution and urging it to stop immediately.

Misawa Air Force Base issued an alert shelter in place after the missile launch, according to USAF Col. Greg Higgnight, director of public affairs for the US-Japanese forces. It has now been lifted and the flight path is still being analyzed by the US military, he said.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement Friday that US President Joe Biden was briefed on the missile launch and that his national security team “will continue close consultations with allies and partners.”

“The door to diplomacy has not been closed, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead opt for diplomatic engagement,” Watson said. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland, the Republic of Korea, and the Japanese allies.”

Friday’s launch comes a day after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula, issuing a dire warning to the United States of a “harer military response” to its tougher defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.

It’s the second suspected test launch of an ICBM this month — an earlier one launched on November 3 appeared to have failed, a South Korean government source told CNN at the time.

The aggressive acceleration of weapons testing and rhetoric has alarmed the region, as the United States, South Korea and Japan have responded with missile launches and joint military exercises.

North Korea is “trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and signaling it has the potential to make American cities vulnerable to nuclear attack,” said Leif Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul.

North Korea has conducted missile tests over 34 days this year, sometimes firing multiple missiles in one day, according to a CNN tally. The toll includes both cruise and ballistic missiles, with the latter making up the majority of North Korea’s tests this year.

There are fundamental differences between these two types of missiles.

A ballistic missile is launched with a missile and travels outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gliding through space before re-entering the atmosphere and landing, powered only by gravity toward its target.

A cruise missile is powered by a jet engine, remains within the Earth’s atmosphere during its flight and is maneuverable using control surfaces similar to those of aircraft.

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that while he wouldn’t see Friday’s supposed ICBM launch “as a message in itself,” it could be seen as part of North Korea’s “process” of developing capabilities. which Kim has identified as necessary to modernize its nuclear forces.”

US and international observers have been warning for months that North Korea appears to be preparing an underground nuclear test, with satellite images showing activity at the nuclear test site. Such a test would be the first for the Hermit Nation in five years.

The ICBM test was designed to validate parts of North Korea’s missile programme, something Kim Jong Un pledged to do this year, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The recent short-range tests, Lewis said, “are an exercise for front-line artillery units practicing pre-emptive nuclear strikes.”

He denied any political or negotiating message from the tests.

“I wouldn’t think of these tests as signals in the first place. North Korea is not interested in talking right now,” Lewis said.

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