North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese territorial waters on Friday, its second major weapons test this month, its neighbors saidperfect weapons systems aimed at the continental United States.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired on Friday at 10:15 a.m. local time from Pyongyang. It traveled a distance of approximately 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) at an altitude of 3,790 miles (6,100 kilometers) and reached a speed of Mach 22 before landing in the East Sea.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense also initially identified the weapon as an ICBM-class ballistic missile. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visited Bangkok to attend a regional summit, told reporters he likely landed at sea in Japan’s exclusive economic zone west of Hokkaido, Japan’s main northern island.
A “cover search order” for Misawa Air Base in northern Japan was issued as a “precautionary measure” by the commander of the 35th Air Force. statement sent to Facebook. The order was lifted at 10:55 a.m. local time on Friday.
“There are no additional indications or warnings of imminent threat to Misawa Air Base at this time,” the statement reads.
If confirmed, this will be the first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea in about two weeks. Outside experts said an intercontinental ballistic missiledid not make the intended flight.
The November 3 test is believed to have involved a new type of development ICBM. North Korea has two other types of ICBMs, the Hwasong-14 and the Hwasong-15, and their test launches in 2017 proved they could potentially reach parts of the US homeland.
The Hwasong-17 has a greater potential range than others, and its enormous size suggests it was designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat missile defense systems. Some experts say the November 3 test showed some technological progress in the development of the Hwasong-17, given that in an earlier test in March the missile exploded shortly after launch.
“North Korea has repeatedly fired missiles with unprecedented frequency this year and is significantly increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamad told reporters.
The South Korean president’s office said it had called an emergency security meeting to discuss the North Korean missile launch.
The premiere is the latest waby North Korea in recent weeks. But the country had stopped firing weapons for about a week before Thursday.
Ahead of Thursday’s premiere, Northern Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui threatened to launch an “intensified” military response against the United Statesto its allies South Korea and Japan.
Choe was referring to US President Joe Biden’s recent tripartite summit with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Cambodia. In a joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defending South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including nuclear weapons.
Choe did not say what steps North Korea might take, but said that “the United States will be acutely aware that this is a gamble, which they will surely regret.”
In late October, US and South Korean officialsNorth Korea is preparing to test a nuclear weapon soon, which would be its first nuclear test since 2017.
The North argued the US military presence in the region as evidence of its hostility towards the country. He said his recent series of gun firings was in response to so-called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
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