HomeWorld NewsNorth Korea Launches ICBM near Japan following US Threats

North Korea Launches ICBM near Japan following US Threats

North Korea Launches ICBM near Japan following US Threats

In a move that has raised concerns among Washington and its allies, North Korea successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with an impressive flight time of over 70 minutes, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry. This latest test represents a potential new round of confrontation and highlights the growing threat posed by North Korea.

The flight time of the missile, which landed in waters near Japan, demonstrates a slight advancement compared to previous tests conducted earlier this year. Both the March and April tests also involved ICBMs capable of reaching the continental United States. These developments coincide with Pyongyang’s recent threat to shoot down US military reconnaissance aircraft engaging in “hostile espionage” near its territory.

While missile launches and fiery rhetoric are not uncommon for North Korea, the current situation is particularly concerning due to the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. The United States and South Korea have been strengthening their defense cooperation, and this launch seems timed to coincide with the NATO summit in Lithuania. Leaders from South Korea, Japan, and the US are gathering to discuss security issues, including the ongoing threat posed by North Korea.

Japan’s Defense Ministry revealed that the missile, the country’s first launch in three months, traveled a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and reached an altitude of over 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles). These flight parameters provide an indication of the missile’s range. It’s worth noting that North Korea often conducts tests on a highly lofted trajectory, causing the missiles to fall into nearby waters rather than simulating an actual attack trajectory.

According to the Japanese Coast Guard, the missile was launched at 9:59 a.m. local time and fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, at 11:15 a.m. These timeframes were confirmed by the Ministry of Defense. Some experts speculate that North Korea tested its developmental road-mobile Hwasong-18 ICBM, a solid-fuel weapon that is harder to detect and intercept compared to the country’s liquid-fuel ICBMs. While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has referred to the Hwasong-18 as the most powerful nuclear weapon, there is no evidence suggesting it can effectively deliver a nuclear payload.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, believes this launch represents North Korea’s second test of the Hwasong-18 ICBM, building upon the results of the first test on April 13. This suggests continuous advancements in North Korea’s missile technology.

Reacting to the missile launch, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for “strong international solidarity” during the NATO summit. He aims to address North Korea’s recent activities and garner support from global leaders in responding to the growing threat.

In a communique issued during the NATO meeting on Tuesday, member nations urged North Korea to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, which violate United Nations Security Council resolutions. The communique also emphasized the importance of dialogue, urging North Korea to accept repeated offers from concerned parties, including Japan, the United States, and South Korea. However, despite international appeals, North Korea has shown no willingness to engage in negotiations with Washington or Seoul.

The ICBM test comes on the heels of threats made by Kim Yo Jong, a senior North Korean official and sister of Kim Jong Un. She accused a US spy plane of repeatedly entering North Korea’s exclusive economic zone on Monday. Kim warned that the US forces would face dire consequences if such intrusions continued. Both the US and South Korea dismissed these accusations and urged North Korea to refrain from creating tension with false claims.

Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, believes Kim’s accusations are part of a pattern employed by North Korea to inflate external threats, rally domestic support, and justify weapons tests. Easley also notes that Pyongyang often times its shows of force to disrupt diplomatic coordination against the country, as in this case where South Korea and Japan’s leaders were meeting during the NATO summit.

It is important to highlight that North Korea has recently witnessed tens of thousands of its citizens marching in anti-US rallies in Pyongyang, commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. State media reported that participants denounced the US as the “Destroyer of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula” and warned of a potential nuclear war.

As tensions rise, South Korea, the US, and Japan continue to hold joint and trilateral military exercises aimed at deterring any potential North Korean military threat. This latest ICBM launch occurs just two weeks before North Korea is set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which brought about a cessation of hostilities in the Korean War. Furthermore, it follows the country’s failed launch of its first spy satellite in May, adding to the already tense atmosphere.




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