According to officials from Japan and South Korea, North Korea has allegedly launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The missile, which flew for over an hour, fell short of Japanese waters on Wednesday morning.
This act by Pyongyang follows its warning of retaliatory measures against what it claimed were recent incursions by US spy planes into its territory.
Earlier this week, North Korea issued a threat to shoot down aircraft of that nature. The United States has rejected these accusations, stating that its military patrols adhere to international law.
Security tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula this year due to North Korea’s testing of new weapons. Additionally, in 2022, the country carried out a significant number of missile launches, including some capable of reaching US territory.
As a response, the United States and South Korea have intensified their joint military exercises in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula. North Korea, on the other hand, has persistently conducted missile launches. In April, it tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which it claimed to be its most potent one yet. In May, the country attempted to launch a spy satellite, but the mission ended in failure.
On Wednesday, North Korea’s missile took off from Pyongyang and traveled eastward for over an hour before landing in the sea west of Japan at around 11:15 local time (02:15 GMT), according to the Japanese Coast Guard. South Korea’s military stated that the missile covered a distance of 1,000 km (621 miles) with a high-angle trajectory.
Following Wednesday’s missile launch, South Korean and US officials held an immediate meeting and issued a joint statement emphasizing the reinforcement of their collective defense. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly condemned North Korea’s action, describing it as a serious provocation that threatens the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the international community. They also highlighted that the launch constitutes a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
In response to the situation, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was attending the NATO summit in Lithuania, convened an emergency meeting of his national security council. North Korea’s previous missile launch occurred in mid-June, involving the firing of two short-range ballistic missiles in response to joint military exercises by the US and South Korea. The country’s last ICBM test took place in February.
The concern surrounding ICBMs stems from their extended range, including the capability to target the mainland United States. During North Korea’s test of an ICBM in November 2022, the missile was launched on a high-angle trajectory, covering a shorter range.