North Korea fires ICBM into sea off Japan in ‘brazen violation’ of UN resolutions


Seoul, South Korea
CNN

North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, the Kim Jong Un regime’s second missile test in two days. Japan said it could reach the US mainland.

The ICBM was launched around 10:15 am. local time from the Sunan area of ​​North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, and flew about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The US said it was a “brazen” violation of UN resolutions.

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

“North Korea continues to carry out provocative actions that have never been seen before,” Kishida told reporters on Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. “I want to repeat that we cannot accept such actions.

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

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 the JCS, which said South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies are analyzing the details.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said it could reach the US mainland. “The ICBM-class ballistic missile launched this time may have a range of more than 15,000 km based on the flight distance of this ICBM,” Hamada said in a statement. “It depends on the weight of the warhead, but that would put the continental United States in range.”

It’s not the first time North Korea has launched an ICBM that experts and officials say could theoretically reach the United States.

According to a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Friday’s missile had a height and range of less than 100 kilometers compared to Pyongyang’s March 24 missile test, which recorded the highest altitude and longest of any missile ever tested by North Korea. Time. The missile reached an altitude of 6,248.5 km (3,905 miles) and flew a distance of 1,090 kilometers, KCNA reported.

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And in 2017, then US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the missile launched by North Korea that year had demonstrated the ability to hit “everything in the world”.

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

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

A senior administration official described the missile as a “further escalation” because it could be far away and could reach the US mainland.

“In today’s meeting, I think there is growing concern around the world about North Korea’s testing precisely because it is developing missiles that can hit many countries around the world, including the United States,” a senior administration official said. “So yes, the vice president was very concerned. And that was one of the reasons why she wanted to bring this group together and condemn these actions together.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol also ordered on Friday to “proactively implement” enhanced extended deterrence measures against North Korea.

The president said Seoul would 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 Korea’s provocations,” his office said in a statement. “The government has a huge response capacity and readiness to respond immediately to any provocations by North Korea, so North Korea should not misjudge this.”

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She added that North Korea has nothing to gain from continued provocations, but warned that sanctions against North Korea will only intensify, leading to Pyongyang’s further international isolation.

Calling the launch a “significant provocation and a serious act of threat”, the JCS warned North Korea of ​​violating a UN Security Council resolution and called for an immediate halt.

According to U.S. Air Force Col. Greg Hignite, director of public affairs for U.S. Forces Japan, Misawa Air Base issued a shelter-in-place warning after the missile launch. 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 “continue to consult closely with allies and partners”, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on Friday.

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

Friday’s launch came a day after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula and issued a stern warning to the United States of a “fierce military response” to closer defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.

This is the second suspected ICBM test launch this month, having previously appeared on Nov. 3. the missile launch failed, a South Korean government source told CNN at the time.

The aggressive escalation of weapons tests and rhetoric has raised concerns in the region, and the US, South Korea and Japan have responded with missile launches and joint military exercises.

Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University, said North Korea is “trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by raising military tensions and claiming it can hold American cities under threat of nuclear attack.”

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According to CNN, North Korea has conducted 34 missile tests this year, sometimes launching multiple missiles in one day. The number includes both cruise and ballistic missiles, the latter of which has accounted for the majority of North Korea’s tests this year.

There are fundamental differences between these two types of rockets.

A ballistic missile is launched with a rocket and flies outside the Earth’s atmosphere, hovering in space before re-entering the atmosphere and landing, propelled only by gravity to the target.

The cruise 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, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program, said that while he wouldn’t consider Friday’s purported ICBM launch “news, per se,” it could be seen as part of North Korea’s “process.” Kim Jong Un has recognized that it is necessary to modernize their nuclear forces.

US and international monitors have warned for months that North Korea is preparing for an underground nuclear test, and satellite images show activity at a nuclear test site. It would be the hermit nation’s first such test in five years.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Research, said the ICBM test was intended to confirm parts of North Korea’s missile program, which Kim Jong Un has promised to do this year.

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

He dismissed any political or negotiating message from the tests.

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

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