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 second missile test by Kim Jong Un’s regime in two days, in actions condemned as a brazen violation of multiple UN resolutions by the United States and its allies.

The ICBM was launched at around 10:15 a.m. local time from the Sunan district of the North Korean capital Pyongyang and flew about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it likely went down in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of the Japanese island of Oshima Oshima, according to the Japanese coast guard. It didn’t fly over Japan.

“North Korea continues to carry out provocative actions with a frequency never 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 prompt updates to the public, he said. So far, there are 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 the details were being analyzed by intelligence officials in South Korea and the United States.

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

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

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South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol on Friday also ordered the “active execution” of enhanced extended deterrence measures against North Korea.

The president said Seoul would strengthen its alliance with Washington and strengthen defense postures 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 tremendous response capability and willingness to immediately react to any North Korean provocations, so North Korea should not misjudge this.”

It added that North Korea could gain nothing through continued provocations, while warning that sanctions against the North would only be strengthened, resulting in Pyongyang’s further international isolation.

Friday’s missile was short in height and range by about 100 kilometers compared to Pyongyang’s March 24 missile test, which saw the highest altitude and longest duration of any North Korean missile ever tested, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency ( KCNA) of the time. That missile reached an altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers (3,905 miles) and flew a distance of 1,090 kilometers (681 miles), KCNA reported.

Calling the launch a “significant provocation and serious act of intimidation”, the JCS warned the North that it was violating a UN Security Council resolution and urged it to stop immediately.

Misawa Air Force Base issued a shelter-in-place alert after the missile was fired, according to U.S. Air Force Col. Greg Hignitt, director of public affairs for U.S. Forces Japan. It has now been lifted and the US military is still analyzing the flight path, he said.

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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 is not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and choose diplomatic engagement instead,” Watson said. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and the Republic of Korea and Japan’s allies.”

Friday’s launch comes a day after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula and issued a stark warning to the United States of “fierce military counteraction” to its tightening defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.

This is the second suspected ICBM test launch this month — a previous missile fired on Nov. 3 appears to have failed, a South Korean government source told CNN at the time.

The aggressive acceleration of weapons testing and rhetoric has sparked alarm in the region, with the US, South Korea and Japan responding with missile launches and joint military exercises.

Leif-Erik Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, said North Korea “is trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and suggesting it has the ability to put American cities at risk of nuclear attack”.

North Korea has conducted missile tests on 34 days this year, sometimes firing multiple missiles in one day, according to a CNN count. The figure also includes cruise and ballistic missiles, with these making up the bulk of North Korea’s tests this year.

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There are significant differences between these two types of rockets.

A ballistic missile is launched by a rocket and travels outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gliding into space before re-entering the atmosphere and descending, powered only by gravity to its target.

The cruise missile is powered by a jet engine, remains in the Earth’s atmosphere during its flight, and can be operated with aircraft-like control surfaces.

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that while he would not view Friday’s presumed ICBM launch “as a message, per se,” it could be seen as part of the “process” of North Korea to develop capabilities that Kim has identified as essential to the modernization of its nuclear forces.”

US and international monitors have warned for months that North Korea appears to be preparing for an underground nuclear test, with satellite images showing activity at a nuclear test site. Such a test would be the first for the hermit nation in five years.

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

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

He rejected any political or negotiating message from the tests.

“I wouldn’t think of these tests as primarily signaling.” “North Korea is not interested in talking right now,” Lewis said.

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