North Korea maintains missile fire with ICBMs
Adding to its spate of weapons tests, North Korea on Thursday fired at least three missiles, including an ICBM, forcing the Japanese government to issue evacuation warnings and temporarily halt trains.
The launches are the latest in a spate of North Korean weapons tests in recent months that have heightened tensions in the region. They came to Pyongyang a daythe most it has ever fired in a single day.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said they noticed the North launched an ICBM from an area near its capital, Pyongyang, around 7:40 a.m. and an hour later launched two short-range ballistic missiles from the nearby city of Kacheon, headed toward its eastern waters flew.
Launched at a high angle, apparently to avoid reaching neighbors’ territory, the longer-range missile reached a maximum altitude of 1,920 kilometers (1,193 miles) and flew around 760 kilometers (472 miles), according to the South Korean military.
It was not immediately clear whether the launch was successful.
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced similar flight details but said his military lost sight of the weapon after it “disappeared” in the sky over water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
October 4 North Koreafor the first time in five years.
Choi Yong Soo, a South Korean naval captain in charge of public affairs for the Seoul Ministry of Defense, did not directly respond to a question about whether the military believes the launch may have failed with the missile exploding in midair, saying that the test is still being analyzed.
Citing anonymous military sources, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the missile may not have been able to maintain normal flight after a phase separation.
The Japanese government initially feared that the ICBM would overfly its northern territory, but later revised its assessment and said there had been no overflights.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office broadcast warnings over TV, radio, cell phones and public speakers to residents of northern Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures, ordering them to go inside company buildings or go underground.
There were no reports of damage or injury from areas where the warnings were issued. Bullet train service in these regions was temporarily suspended following the missile alert, before resuming shortly. Kishida condemned the North’s launches and said officials were analyzing the details of the weapons.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office said its national security director Kim Sung-han discussed the launches during an emergency security meeting where members discussed plans to strengthen the country’s defenses linked to its alliance with the United States.
The bureau said South Korea would continue its combined military exercises with the United States in response to North Korea’s intensification of testing activities, which it said would only deepen the North’s international isolation and inflict another economic shock on its people.
One of more than 20 missiles launched by North Korea on Wednesday flew towards a populated South Korean island and landed near the rivals’ tense sea border, triggering air raid sirens and forcing residents of Ulleung Island to evacuate. South Korea quickly responded by launching its own missiles in the same border area.
These launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use itto get the US and South Korea to “pay the most horrific price in history” to protest ongoing military exercises between South Korea and the US, which they see as a rehearsal for a possible invasion.
In a statement Wednesday night, a US State Department spokesman condemned the launch, calling it a “clear violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
“This action underscores the need for all countries to fully implement DPRK-related UN Security Council resolutions aimed at prohibiting the DPRK from acquiring the technologies and materials needed to conduct these destabilizing tests,” the statement said .
In September, North Korea’s parliament introduced a new “first-deployment” doctrine, under which Pyongyang could launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. That raised concern among America’s regional allies Japan and South Korea. The two Koreas are still technically at war, and Seoul is relying on US protection.
The latest attempt at diplomacy under the Trump administration fell through after a high-profile summit between President Trump and Kim in February 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. While the two leaders celebrated their personal ties, no agreement was reached and North Korea’s nuclear development continued. The reach of the Biden government has also fallen short.