August 11, 2022
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South Koreans: North Korea tests an ICBM | World

The South Korean and Japanese militaries said Thursday that North Korea has launched what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) toward the sea. The North Koreans have not tested these missiles since 2017.

South Korea’s General Staff said it had detected the launch of an “unidentified projectile” from North Korea, “possibly a long-range missile, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), fired at a ‘high’ trajectory into space.” Yonhap news agency reported.

According to the South Korean General Staff, the North Korean missile flew 1,080 km and reached an altitude of 6,200 km.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry did not immediately confirm whether the test involved an ICBM.

The Japan Coast Guard said the projectile landed inside the Japanese Special Zone, 170 kilometers west of Aomori Prefecture in the north of the country.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida described North Korea’s launch as an “unacceptable violent act”.

Kishida, who is in Brussels for the G7 summit, said North Korea’s missile technology is improving.

On March 16, North Korea launched a missile that appeared to explode shortly after takeoff, the South Korean military said.

The United States and South Korea have warned in recent weeks that North Korea may be preparing to test an ICBM at its maximum range.

US officials said at least two recent tests, on February 27 and March 5, showed North Korea’s largest ICBM system to date, the Hwasong-17.

“The purpose of these tests was likely to be to evaluate this new system prior to conducting a full-range test, possibly disguised as a space launch,” a US official said.

Pyongyang responded that it was only testing components of a reconnaissance satellite system. Leader Kim Jong Un said this month that North Korea will soon launch several satellites to monitor the military movements of the United States and its allies.

North Korea last conducted a full ballistic missile test on November 29, 2017, when it reported that it had successfully launched a new type of ICBM, called the Hwasong-15, that could strike the entire US mainland. That missile flew for 53 minutes, similar to Thursday’s missile flight time.

On January 19, North Korea said it would bolster its defenses and consider resuming “all temporarily suspended activities,” according to the state-run Central News Agency.

Analysts say the Hwasong-17 is “much larger” than the Hwasong-15 and was first shown at a military parade in October 2020. It was shown for the second time at a defense exhibition in Pyongyang in October 2021.

The missile, demonstrated on an 11-axle carrier vehicle, will be one of the largest in the world. Its diameter is estimated between 2.4 and 2.5 meters, and its total mass, when refueled, ranges between 80,000 kilograms and 110,000 kilograms, according to the US “38 North” program that monitors North South Korea.