North Korea fired ‘suspected intercontinental ballistic missile’: Seoul

SEOUL: North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday, SeoulThe military said, just a day after President Joe Biden concluding his first Asia visit as US leader.
At least three missiles – including one suspected to be an ICBM – were fired from the Sunan area in Pyongyang, Seoul said, where several recent weapons tests by the nuclear armed regime have been conducted. .
Southern Korea and the United States conducted a live-fire exercise “ground-to-ground missile exercise” in response North Seoul’s military said “suspected ICBMs and missile provocations” by North Korea.
“North Korea’s repeated launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and short-range ballistic missiles are suspected today as an illegal act that directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions.” , the Seoul government said after a meeting of the National Security Council.
South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol oversaw the meeting and said the launches – one of nearly 20 tests carried out by Pyongyang so far this year – were a “serious provocation that threatens peace”. on the Korean Peninsula and the international community”.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it “detected at around 06:00 (2100 GMT), 0637 and 0642 ballistic missile launches from the Sunan area towards the South China Sea,” referring to the South China Sea. to the Sea of ​​Japan. .
“The first ballistic missile (suspected ICBM) has a range of about 360 kilometers (225 miles) and an altitude of about 540 kilometers,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The second ballistic missile “disappeared at an altitude of 20km” and the third – a suspected short-range ballistic missile – flew 760km at an altitude of about 60km.
“The details are being closely analyzed by South Korean and American intelligence,” the statement said.
Wednesday’s launch was the latest in a series of punitive weapons tests by Pyongyang this year, including test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.
The latest apparent test comes just days after Biden left South Korea on Sunday after a trip obscured by US and South Korean officials warning that Mr. Kim could carry out a nuclear test. when Biden was in the area.
While in South Korea, Biden joined Yoon in negotiations, including discussing extensive military exercises aimed at countering Kim’s aggression.
Joint exercises were scaled back due to Covid and let Biden and Yoon’s predecessors, Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in, embark on an ultimately unsuccessful round of high-level diplomacy with North Korea.
Any reinforcement or expansion of joint exercises could anger Pyongyang, which sees the drills as rehearsals for invasion.
On his final day in Seoul, Biden told reporters he had only one short message for Kim: “Hello. Ky.”
And he added that the US was “prepared for whatever North Korea does”.
Kim recently doubled down on his military modernization program.
Despite struggling with the recent Covid-19 outbreak, new satellite images show the North has continued to build a long-defunct nuclear reactor.
Earlier this month, North Korea confirmed its first case of Omicron infection in Pyongyang, and the virus has ripped through its population of 25 million unvaccinated people.
North Korean state media said on Wednesday more than three million people had fallen ill with the “fever”, with 68 deaths since the outbreak in late April.
Seoul Foreign Minister Park Jin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone after the launch Wednesday, the foreign ministry said.
The two sides said they were “deeply deplorable” that North Korea “is using its main financial resources for nuclear and missile development rather than quarantine and improving people’s livelihoods” during the outbreak. broadcast.
North Korea has continued to conduct missile tests since it declared a national emergency over the Covid outbreak, although state media did not report the launches as usual.

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