North Korea test launches suspected ICBM, Seoul says
North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese territorial waters Friday, its neighbors said, the second such major weapons test this month that shows its determination to perfect weapons systems targeting the U.S. mainland.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missile was launched at 10: 15 a.m. local time Friday from Pyongyang. It traveled a distance of about 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 weapon was initially identified by the Japanese Defense Ministry as an ICBM class ballistic missile. Fumio Kishida from Japan, the Japanese Prime Minister, was visiting Bangkok to attend a regional summit. He stated that the weapon had landed at sea within Japan’s exclusive economic zone west Hokkaido. Japan’s main northern Island.
A “seek cover order” for the Misawa Air Base in northern Japan was issued as a “precautionary measure” by the commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, the U.S. base said in a statement posted to Facebook. The order was lifted at 10: 55 a.m. local time Friday.
” “At this point, there are no additional warnings or indications of an imminent threat to Misawa Air Base,” said the statement.
If confirmed, it would be North Korea’s first ICBM launch in about two weeks. Outside experts said that an ICBM launched by North Korea on Nov. 3 failed to fly its intended flight.
The Nov. 3 test was thought to have involved a new type ICBM. North Korea has two other types of ICBM — Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 and their test-launches in 2017 proved they could potentially reach parts of the U.S. homeland.
The Hwasong-17 has a longer potential range than the others and its huge size suggests it’s designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat missile defense systems. Some experts say the Nov. 3 test showed some technological progress in the development of the Hwasong-17, given that in its earlier test in March, the missile exploded soon after liftoff.
“North Korea is firing missiles at an unprecedented rate this year and is significantly increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Yasukazu Hayad, Japanese Defense Minister, told reporters.
South Korea’s Presidential Office stated that it called an emergency security meeting to discuss North Korean missile launches.
This launch is the latest in a series of missile tests conducted by North Korea in recent days. But the country had halted weapons launches for about a week before it fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday.
Before Thursday’s launch, the North’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, threatened to launch “fiercer” military responses to the U.S. bolstering its security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan.
Choe refers to the recent trilateral summit between Joe Biden and his South Korean-Japanese counterparts at a regional gathering in Cambodia. The three leaders condemned North Korea’s recent missile testing and agreed to work together in strengthening deterrence. Biden reiterated the U.S. commitment of defending South Korea and Japan with all its capabilities, including nuclear weapons.
Choe did not say what steps North Korea could take, but said that the U.S. would be aware that it is playing games and will regret it. “
In late October, U.S. and South Korean officials confirmed to CBS News that North Korea is preparing to test an atomic weapon soon, in what would be its first nuclear test since 2017. The North has claimed that the U.S. military presence is proof of its hostility to the country. It claimed that its recent weapons launches were in response to provocative military drills between South Korea and the United States.
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