Seoul, South Korea
North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, the second missile test by Kim Jong Un’s regime in two days, condemned by the United States and its allies as a flagrant violation of UN resolutions.
The ICBM was launched from the Sunan region of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang at around 10:15 a.m. local time and flew about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the ship may have gone down in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of the Japanese island of Oshima, according to the Japan Coast Guard. Did not fly over Japan.
“North Korea continues to engage in provocations with an unprecedented frequency,” Kishida told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Friday.
“We would like to reiterate that such behavior is unacceptable,” he said.
He said the Japanese government will continue to collect and analyze information and provide prompt information to the public. Kishida added that there were no reports of damage to the ship at sea so far.
The ICBM reached an altitude of 6,100 km (3,790 miles) at Mach 22, or 22 times the speed of sound, according to the JCS, which South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials are analyzing in detail.
On Friday morning, US Vice President Kamala Harris met with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada at the APEC summit to condemn the missile launch in an unscheduled press conference.
“I wanted this group of allies and partners to join us in condemning North Korea’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile,” he said. “I asked them to come together as allies and partners to discuss next steps. This action by North Korea is a flagrant violation of many UN Security Council resolutions. It destabilizes regional security and creates unnecessary tension,” he said.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday also ordered the “active implementation” of tougher, extended deterrence measures against North Korea.
The president said Seoul will strengthen its alliance with Washington, strengthen its defense position, and cooperate with the United States and Japan in the field of security.
“The government will not tolerate provocations from North Korea,” his office said in a statement. “North Korea should not misjudge this as the government has a strong retaliatory capability and is willing to respond promptly to any North Korean provocation.”
North Korea has warned that nothing can be gained by continued provocations, but only the tightening of sanctions against the North, which will further isolate Pyongyang internationally.
Friday’s launch was 100 km shorter in height and range than Pyongyang’s March 24 missile test, marking the tallest and longest missile test by North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. time. The missile reached an altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers and flew a distance of 1,090 kilometers (681 miles), KCNA reported.
Calling the missile launch a “serious act of provocation and threat”, it warned the North that it violated UN Security Council resolutions and urged it to stop immediately.
According to Col. Greg Hignit, director of public affairs for the U.S. Air Force in Japan, Misawa Air Base declared a shelter-in-place after the missile was fired. It has now been canceled 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 consult closely with allies and partners, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on Friday.
“The door is not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and choose diplomacy,” Watson said. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, our allies.”
The launch came Friday after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, warning the United States of a strong military response to tighten defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.
This is the second suspected ICBM launch this month, with the Nov. 3 missile appearing to have failed, a South Korean government source told CNN.
The aggressive pace of weapons tests and talks has raised alarm in the region, prompting the United States, South Korea and Japan to retaliate with missile launches and joint military exercises.
Leif-Erik Eisley, associate professor of international studies at Yewha Women’s University in Seoul, said, “North Korea is trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and putting American cities at risk of nuclear attack.”
North Korea has conducted 34 missile tests this year, sometimes firing multiple missiles in one day, according to CNN. That number includes cruise and ballistic missiles, which have accounted for the majority of North Korea’s tests this year.
There is a significant difference between these two types of missiles.
Ballistic missiles are launched by rockets, travel outside the Earth’s atmosphere, re-enter the atmosphere and glide through space before descending, guided by gravity alone to their target.
A sea missile is powered by a jet engine, remains in the Earth’s atmosphere during flight, and is maneuverable with control surfaces similar to those of an airplane.
Ankit Panda, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program, said Friday’s alleged ICBM launch was not a “message” but could be seen as “part of a process” by North Korea. Kim stated that it is necessary to modernize the nuclear power.
U.S. and international monitors have warned for months that North Korea appears to be preparing to conduct an underground nuclear test, with satellite images showing activity at a nuclear test site. Such a test would be the hermit nation’s first in five years.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation, said the ICBM test was aimed at verifying parts of North Korea’s missile program, which Kim Jong Un has promised to do this year.
The recent short-range tests are “exercises for front-line artillery units conducting pre-emptive nuclear strikes,” Lewis said.
He denied any political or negotiating messages from the experiment.
“I don’t think these tests are a major signal. North Korea is not interested in talking right now,” Lewis said.