North Korea launches ICBM with range to hit anywhere in U.S., Japan says

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese waters on Friday in its second major weapons test this month, South Korea and Japan said. The missile had the potential to reach the entire US mainland, according to Japan’s defense minister.

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The United States quickly condemned the launch and vowed to take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the security of its own mainland and allies South Korea and Japan.

At the APEC regional summit in Bangkok, Thailand, Vice President Kamala Harris called Friday’s launch a “brazen violation of multiple UN Security resolutions” that “destabilizes security in the region, and unnecessarily raises tensions.” We strongly condemn these actions and we again call on North Korea to stop further illegal, destabilizing actions. On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our firm commitment to our Indo-Pacific alliances.

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APEC Summit in Bangkok
Vice President Kamala Harris holds a meeting on the North Korean missile launch on November 18, 2022, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo of South Korea, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

Haiyun Jiang/Pool/Reuters


“Together, the countries represented here will continue to encourage North Korea to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy,” he continued.

Later on Friday, South Korea’s military said its F-35 fighter jets conducted drills simulating air strikes on North Korean mobile missile launchers. The drill was held in a firing range near its land border with the North. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said eight South Korean and US fighter jets were performing separate flight training off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The exercises “demonstrated that we have a strong resolve to deal sternly with an ICBM launch and any other provocations and threats posed by North Korea, and the overwhelming ability and readiness of allies to launch precision strikes on the enemy,” said the Joint Chiefs in a statement. statement.

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A photo provided by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff is said to show a South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jet taking part in an exercise on November 18, 2022.

South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff/Handout


On the other hand, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Russia Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that although Moscow prefers a diplomatic approach towards the Korean peninsula, “it has been particularly evident recently that the United States and its allies in the region prefer a different path. It is as if Pyongyang’s patience is being tested.” Agence France-Presse reported on Moscow’s response.

Pyongyang is an ongoing strict run of weapons tests is trying to develop its nuclear arsenal and eventually win more concessions in diplomacy, and the launches come as China and Russia oppose moves by the United States to strengthen sanctions aimed at curbing the North’s nuclear program.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected an ICBM launch from North Korea’s capital region around 10:15 a.m. and that the weapon was flying toward the North’s east coast across the country. Japan said the ICBM appeared to have flown on a high trajectory and landed west of Hokkaido.

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A file photo broadcast by North Korean state television on August 29, 2017, shows the country’s leader Kim Jong Un allegedly watching the launch of the Hwasong-12 ballistic missile (known by the US as the KN-17 missile) from a site near Pyongyang.

Reuters/KRT


According to South Korean and Japanese estimates, the North Korean missile flew about 3,600-3,790 miles at a maximum altitude of 620 miles.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that the height suggested the missile was launched at a high angle. He said depending on the warhead weight applied to the missile, the weapon has a range of more than 9,320 miles, “in which case it could cover the entire mainland United States.”

A spokeswoman for the US National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, said the launch “unnecessarily raises tensions and risks destabilizing” regional security while showing that the North prioritizes illegal weapons programs over the well-being of its people. He said that President Biden had been briefed on the launch.

“Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and instead opt for diplomatic engagement,” Watson said.

South Korean tensions
A television screen shows a file image of a North Korean missile launch during a news program at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on November 18, 2022. South Korea said the missile launched by North Korea on Friday was likely to be intercontinental ballistic missile .

Ahn Young-joon / AP


Hamada, Japan’s defense minister, called the launch “a reckless act that threatens Japan as well as the region and the international community.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch a “serious provocation and serious threat” that undermines international and regional peace and security. He said South Korea remains ready to make an “overwhelming response to any North Korean provocation” amid close coordination with the United States.

After being briefed on the launch, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered officials to boost security cooperation with the United States and Japan and to implement unspecified deterrence measures previously agreed upon with the United States. Yoon also ordered officials to push for strong international condemnations and sanctions on North Korea, according to his office.


USA and South Korea extend joint military drills

04:24

North Korea too ICBM launch on 3 November, but experts said a weapon failed to fly its intended path and fell into the ocean after stage separation. That test was believed to have involved a developmental ICBM known as the Hwasong-17.

North Korea has two other types of ICBMs – Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 – and their test launches in 2017 proved that they could potentially reach parts of the US homeland.

The Hwasong-17 has a longer potential range than the others, and its sheer size suggests it is designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat missile defense systems. Some experts say the November 3 test showed some technological progress in the development of the Hwasong-17, given that the missile exploded in its earlier test in March shortly after liftoff.

It was not immediately known whether North Korea launched the Hwasong-17 missile again on Friday or something else.

In recent months, North Korea has performed dozens of shorter-range missile tests that it called simulations of nuclear attacks on South Korean and US targets. But he had stopped launching weapons for about a week before that fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday.

Ahead of Thursday’s launch, the North’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, threatened to launch “aggressive” military responses to the US strengthening its security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan.

Choe was referring to the recent tripartite summit Mr. Biden with Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Cambodia. In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Mr Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including its nuclear weapons.

Choe did not say what steps North Korea might take but said “the United States will be well aware that it is gambling, which it will certainly regret.”

Pyongyang sees the US military presence in the region as proof of its hostility towards North Korea. He has said his recent series of weapons launches was his response to so-called provocative military drills between the United States and South Korea.

North Korea has been under several rounds of UN sanctions over its previous nuclear and missile tests. But no new sanctions have been applied this year even though it has carried out dozens of ballistic missile launches, which are banned by UN Security Council resolutions.

That is possibly because China and Russia, two of the veto-wielding members of the UN council, oppose the new UN sanctions. Washington is locked in a strategic competition with Beijing and in conflict with Moscow over its the invasion of the Ukraine.

There have been concerns that North Korea could carry out its first nuclear test in five years as its next big step towards strengthening its military capability against the US and its allies.

In late October, US and South Korean officials confirmed to CBS News that Pyongyang is preparing to test an atomic weapon soon, in what would be its first nuclear test since 2017.

The North has argued the US military presence in the region as proof of its hostility towards the country. It has said its recent series of weapons launches is a response to so-called provocative military drills between the United States and South Korea.

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