fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese waters on Friday in its second major weapons test this month, South Korea and Japan said. The missile had the potential to reach all of the US mainland, Japan’s defense minister said.
The United States quickly condemned the launch, vowing to take “all necessary measures” to ensure the security of its own mainland and that of allies South Korea and Japan.
Speaking at the APEC regional summit in Bangkok, Thailand, Vice President Kamala Harris called Friday’s launch a “brutal violation of multiple UN security resolutions” that “destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily heightens tensions. We strongly condemn these actions and we once again call on North Korea to stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts.On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our unwavering commitment to our Indo-Pacific alliances.
“Together, the countries represented here will continue to press North Korea for serious and sustained diplomacy,” she continued.
Later on Friday, the South Korean military said its F-35 fighter jets were conducting exercises simulating airstrikes against North Korean mobile missile launchers. The exercise took place at a firing range near the land border with the north. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said eight South Korean and US fighter jets have been conducting separate flight training off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
The exercises “demonstrated our determination to rigorously handle an ICBM launch and all other provocations and threats to North Korea and the overwhelming capacity and willingness of the Allies to launch precision strikes against the enemy,” it said. the Joint Chiefs in a statement. pronunciation.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, on the other hand, was quoted by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency as saying that while Moscow prefers a diplomatic approach to the Korean Peninsula, “it is lately it has been particularly clear that the United States and its allies in the region are taking a different path. It is as if Pyongyang’s patience is being tested.” Agence France-Presse reported on Moscow’s response.
from Pyongyangseeks to expand its nuclear arsenal and win bigger concessions in eventual diplomacy, and the launches come as China and Russia have resisted US moves to tighten sanctions aimed at curbing the North’s nuclear program .
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the ICBM launch from North Korea’s capital at around 10:15 a.m. and that the weapon was flying across the country toward the north’s east coast. Japan said the ICBM appeared to have flown on a high runway and landed west of Hokkaido.
According to South Korean and Japanese estimates, the North Korean missile flew about 3,600-3,790 miles at a maximum altitude of 620 miles.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters the height suggests the missile was launched from a high angle. He said that depending on the weight of a warhead placed on the missile, the weapon has a range of more than 15,000 kilometers, “in which case it could cover the entire mainland United States.”
US National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson said the launch “unnecessarily heightens tensions and threatens to destabilize regional security” while showing the North is prioritizing illegal weapons programs over the well-being of its people. She said President Biden was briefed on the launch.
“Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and instead opt for diplomatic involvement,” Watson said.
Hamada, Japan’s defense minister, called the launch “a reckless act that threatens both Japan and the region and the international community”.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a grave provocation and serious threat” that undermines international and regional peace and security. It said South Korea remains ready to provide “an overwhelming response to any North Korean provocation” in close cooperation with the United States.
After being informed of the launch, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered officials to strengthen security cooperation with the United States and Japan and implement unspecified deterrent measures previously agreed with the United States. Yoon also ordered officials to push for strong international condemnations and sanctions against North Korea, his office said.
North Korea too, but experts said the weapon did not fly on its intended route and fell into the ocean after a phase separation. That test was believed to involve a developmental ICBM named Hwasong-17.
North Korea has two other types of ICBMs – Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 – and their test launches in 2017 have proven they could potentially reach parts of the US homeland.
The Hwasong-17 has a greater potential range than the others, and its sheer size suggests it was designed to carry multiple 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 during the earlier test in March, the rocket exploded shortly after launch.
It was not immediately known whether North Korea launched another Hwasong-17 missile or something else on Friday.
In recent months, North Korea has conducted dozens of tests of shorter-range missiles, which it called simulations of nuclear strikes against South Korean and US targets. But it had stopped launching weapons about a week before.
Before Thursday’s launch, the North’s foreign minister Choe Son Hui threatened “harder” military responses to the US to bolster its security commitments to its allies South Korea and Japan.
Choe referred to Mr Biden’s recent trilateral summit with Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Cambodia. In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Mr Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including its nuclear weapons.
Choe did not say what steps North Korea could take, but said that “the US will be well aware that it is gambling, which it will surely regret.”
Pyongyang sees the US military presence in the region as evidence of its hostility to North Korea. It has said its recent string of weapons launches was its response to what it called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
North Korea is subject to multiple rounds of United Nations sanctions over its past nuclear and missile tests. But no new sanctions have been imposed this year, even though it has carried out dozens of ballistic missile launches, which are banned by UN Security Council resolutions.
This may be because China and Russia, two of the members of the UN Council with veto power, are opposed to new UN sanctions. Washington is engaged in a strategic competition with Beijing and a confrontation with Moscow over it.
There were concerns that North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test in five years as the next big step toward strengthening its military capability against the United States and its allies.
U.S. and South Korean officials arrived in late Octoberthat Pyongyang is preparing to test a nuclear weapon soon, in what would be its first nuclear test since 2017.
The North has cited a US military presence in the region as evidence of its hostility to the country. It has said its recent string of weapons launches came in response to what it called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.