Seoul, South Korea
North Korea It said it conducted a “new type of test firing” of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, according to the state-run KCNA news agency.
Japan had warned on Friday that this missile has the capability to reach the US mainland.
KCNA claimed the “new” missile was the Hwaseong-17 and said it launched from Pyongyang International Airspace and flew a distance of 999.2 km (621 miles).
The state news agency also published several still images of leader Kim Jong Un, who observed the launch.
The ICBM was launched from the Sunan region of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang around 10.15 am local time. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The US has said this is an “outrageous” violation of UN resolutions.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it was likely to fall within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of the Japanese island of Oshima, according to the Japanese Coast Guard. They were not flying over Japan.
“North Korea is engaging in provocative actions with a frequency never seen before,” Kishida told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday. “I want to reiterate that we cannot accept such actions.”
The Japanese government will continue to collect and analyze information and provide immediate updates to the public, he said. So far, there have been no reports of damage to ships at sea, Kishida added.
After guiding the launch of the ICBM on Friday, Kim said North Korea must “clearly demonstrate its strong will to respond to the frenzied aggressive war drills carried out by enemies who seek to destroy the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region.” America and South Korea
According to KCNA, he also warned that his country would respond “more offensively” if the US “increases military indolence in and around the Korean Peninsula”.
“Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if enemies continue to threaten the DPRK, launching repeated nuclear strikes, our party and government will resolutely respond with nuclear weapons and all-out conflict with all-out conflict,” KCNA said.
According to the JCS, the ICBM traveled at 22 times the speed of sound, with details being analyzed by intelligence officials in South Korea and the US.
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said it has the capability to reach the US mainland. “The range of an ICBM-class ballistic missile launched this time could exceed 15,000 km when calculated based on the flight distance of this ICBM,” Hamada said in a statement. “It depends on the weight of the warhead, but in that case, the US mainland would be included in the range.”
This is not the first time North Korea has launched an ICBM that experts and officials have assessed could theoretically reach the US.
According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Friday’s missile was lower in altitude and range than Pyongyang’s missile test on March 24, which recorded the highest altitude and longest duration of any North Korean missile ever tested. The missile reached an altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers (3,905 miles) and flew a distance of 1,090 kilometers (681 miles), KCNA reported.
And in 2017, then US Defense Secretary James Mattis called A A missile launched by North Korea Demonstrated ability to kill “everything in the world” that year.
On Friday morning, US Vice President Kamala Harris joined the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada on the sidelines of the APEC summit to protest the launch, in an earlier unscheduled media briefing.
“I have asked this group of friends and partners to come together to join us in condemning North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile launch,” she said. “I have asked them to join so that we can consult on next steps as collaborators and partners. This recent behavior by North Korea is a blatant violation of several UN Security Resolutions. It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily escalates tensions.”
A senior administration official described the missile as a “next step” because of its long-range capability and ability to reach the US mainland.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday ordered the “proactive implementation” of strengthened expanded deterrence measures against North Korea.
The president said Seoul would strengthen its alliance with Washington and increase defense and security cooperation with the US and Japan.
“The government will not tolerate provocations by North Korea,” his office said in a statement. “The government’s overwhelming response capability and readiness to react quickly to any provocation by North Korea should not be misunderstood by North Korea.”
Sanctions against North Korea will only be strengthened, resulting in further international isolation of Pyongyang, it said, warning that North Korea cannot gain anything from continued provocations.
Calling the launch a “significant act of provocation and a grave threat”, the JCS warned the North of its violation of UN Security Council resolutions and called for an immediate halt.
According to US Air Force Col. Greg Hignite, director of public affairs for US Forces Japan, Misawa Air Base issued a shelter-in-place order after the missile was fired. It has now been lifted and the US military is still analyzing the flight path, he said.
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the missile launch and his national security team will “continue to consult closely with friends and partners,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement on Friday.
“The door to diplomacy is not closed, but Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and choose diplomatic engagement instead,” Watson said. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and the Republic of Korea and Japanese allies.”
Friday’s launch came after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula and issued a stern warning of “strong military resistance” to the United States for straining defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.
This is the second suspected test launch of an ICBM this month – the missile was previously fired on November 3 Appears to have failedA South Korean government source told CNN at the time.
An aggressive acceleration in weapons testing and rhetoric has sent alarm bells ringing across the region as the US, South Korea and Japan have responded with missile launches and joint military exercises.
Leif-Erik Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, said North Korea is “trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and its ability to put American cities at risk of nuclear attack.”
By CNN’s count, North Korea has conducted missile tests on 34 days this year, sometimes firing multiple missiles in a single day. The tally includes cruise and ballistic missiles, with the latter accounting for the majority of North Korea’s tests this year.
There are significant differences between these two types of missiles.
A ballistic missile is launched with a rocket and travels outside the Earth’s atmosphere, drifting through space before re-entering the atmosphere and descending, guided only by gravity to its target.
A cruise missile is powered by a jet engine, remains in the Earth’s atmosphere during flight, and operates with control surfaces similar to an airplane.
Ankit Panda, senior fellow in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that while he would not see Friday’s presumed ICBM launch “as a message,” it could be seen as part of North Korea’s “process. Kim has developed the capabilities needed to modernize his nuclear arsenal.
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 a nuclear test site. Such a test will be the first test of the hermit nation in five years.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the ICBM test was designed to validate parts of North Korea’s missile program, which Kim Jong Un has pledged to do this year.
The recent short-range tests are “practice for frontline artillery units practicing preemptive nuclear strikes,” Lewis said.
He denied any political or negotiating message from the tests.
“I wouldn’t think of these tests primarily as signaling. North Korea is not interested in talking right now,” Lewis said.