North Korea launches new intercontinental missile in biggest test since 2017

North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017, its neighbors said Thursday, in a major escalation of its weapons program that is likely to stoke new tensions with United States and their allies.

Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, said the missile was believed to be a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile and condemned the test, which comes at a time when the world is focused on Ukraine, as an “unforgivable outrage”.

“This series of actions taken by North Korea threaten the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community, and are absolutely unacceptable,” he said from Brussels, where he landed Thursday to meet with world leaders as the invasion of Russia in his second month.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff South Korea he also said the missile appeared to be an ICBM.

The launch marks the first North Korean test of this type of weaponry since 2017.

The South Korean military responded quickly by firing multiple land, sea and air missiles into the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

The president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, It strongly condemned the launch, which it said posed “a grave danger to the international community as well as to the Korean Peninsula in the midst of the war in Ukraine.”

The launch comes less than two months before Moon leaves office, presenting a challenge for his conservative successor.

The dramatic move, which US officials have warned could occur, is the latest in a series of weapons tests that experts say are aimed at forcing the international community to recognize the regime. Kim Jong Un as a nuclear power and lift the sanctions that have devastated the country’s economy.

The launch ended a self-imposed moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing that North Korea declared in 2018 before diplomatic talks with former President Donald Trump ultimately collapsed.

The country is prohibited from such tests under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The press secretary of the White House, Jen Psaki condemned the test and said that the administration of Joe Biden he was assessing the situation in close coordination with his allies.

“This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people,” he said in a statement, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We urge all countries to hold the DPRK accountable for such violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations.”

Japan’s top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, said the missile was launched eastward into the sea.

It said it touched down at 3:44 p.m. local time (2:44 a.m. ET) about 90 miles west of the peninsula. oshima in the north of the island hokkaido, within the exclusive economic zone of Japan.

Matsuno said the missile was estimated to have been in the air for 71 minutes, flew a distance of 680 miles and reached a maximum altitude of more than 3,725 miles.

That compares with 53 minutes, a distance of 590 miles and an altitude of about 2,780 miles when North Korea last tested an ICBM in November 2017.

Pyongyang he said the missile, the Hwasong-15, could reach anywhere in the United States.

The South Korean military said Thursday’s missile was launched from the area of sunan, the site of Pyongyang International Airport. A missile launched there on March 16 appeared to explode shortly after takeoff.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration warned that North Korea was secretly testing elements of a new ICBM system ahead of a potential full-range launch.

It imposed new sanctions for two missile tests on February 27 and March 5 that it said involved the Hwasong-17, North Korea’s largest ICBM system.

The Hwasong-17 first appeared at a military parade in October 2020.

North Korean state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the two tests were part of a plan to launch reconnaissance satellites to monitor military action by the United States and its allies.

North Korea has not said what type of missile was used in Thursday’s test. Compared to the Hwasong-15, the Hwasong-17 is much larger and can better thwart missile defense systems, analysts say.

“It gives North Koreans more options,” said Daniel Pinkston, a professor of international relations at Troy University in South Korea.

“They can load two, three or four warheads into the payload and send them to separate targets,” he said, though North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to do so.

North Korea’s arms race

North Korea has stepped up short-range missile tests in recent months, especially since the beginning of the year, prompting the Biden administration to impose new sanctions on the country.

Tests have included an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the US territory of Guam, as well as a hypersonic missile and a ballistic missile fired from a submarine.

The country hinted in January that tests of nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles could be next.

On AmericanPost.News We will follow the latest news from North Korea like Seoul reported firing from rocket launchers.

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