North Korea launches ICBM with range to reach US

The North Korean pattern has been to launch missiles in response to US military activity.


North Korea shot on Friday an alleged intercontinental ballistic missilel (ICBM), South Korean and Japanese officials said, as tensions between Pyongyang and Washington escalate further amid U.S. efforts to strengthen coordination with allies in Seoul and Tokyo, according to The Washington Post.

The missile landed in the sea approximately 210 km (130 miles) west of Hokkaido in Japan.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters the altitude suggests the missile was launched at a high angle. Hamada said that depending on the weight of a warhead that was placed on the missile, the weapon has a range greater than 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), "In which case it could cover the entire continental United States."

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement on the North Korean missile launch: "We are aware of the DPRK's ballistic missile launch and are in close consultation with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, as well as as with other allies and regional partners. The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from further illegal and destabilizing acts."

The United States condemned the missile launch in a White House statement: "The United States strongly condemns the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for its testing of a long-range ballistic missile."

The statement goes on to say that President Biden has been briefed on the situation and "he and his national security team will continue close consultations with allies and partners, building on the president's trilateral meeting on Sunday with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea, where they resolved to forge even closer trilateral ties in the field of security. The Vice President is coordinating with our allies and partners in the region during the APEC Conference in Bangkok, Thailand."

South Korea ordered stronger deterrence measures against North Korea.

On Thursday, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui warned of a "fiercer" response to any increase in the US military presence in the area.

While North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year, launching an ICBM has been rare.

Friday's event was Pyongyang's second launch this month of an alleged intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of reaching the continental United States.

The Pyongyang government sees the US military presence in the region as proof of its hostility towards North Korea. He has said his recent series of missile launches was his response to what he called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

There are concerns that North Korea can conduct its first nuclear test in five years as its next major step in bolstering its military capability against the United States and its allies.

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