politics

North Korea Has Likely Tested a New Type of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, Japan Says

Jung Yeon-je | AFP | Getty Images
  • It is the first suspected launch of an ICBM by the nuclear-armed country since November 2017 and represents a major escalation of tensions over North Korea's weapons program.
  • The U.S., South Korea and Japan have all condemned the test of a long-range ballistic missile.
  • The suspected ICBM, which reached a maximum altitude of over 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles), flew for roughly 71 minutes and traveled about 1,100 kilometers.

North Korea likely tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday, Japan's government said, prompting international outcry at a time when global attention is focused on Russia's war with Ukraine.

It is the first suspected launch of an ICBM by the nuclear-armed country since November 2017 and represents a major escalation of tensions over North Korea's weapons program.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan have all condemned the test.

Speaking to reporters, Japan's Deputy Defense Minister Makoto Oniki said Thursday's missile launch may be a new model of ICBM because it flew much further than the previous test-fire.

The long-range missile, which reached a maximum altitude of over 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles), flew for roughly 71 minutes and traveled about 1,100 kilometers.

It landed approximately 150 kilometers west of Japan's Oshima Peninsula within Japan's exclusive economic zone at about 15:44 local time (2:44 a.m. ET).

South Korea's military said earlier on Thursday that North Korea launched an "unidentified projectile" suspected to be a long-range ballistic missile, without specifying whether it was an ICBM.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that while the world is responding to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, North Korea would unilaterally escalate its provocations against the international community by conducting this launch," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Thursday.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is in Brussels, Belgium, for the G-7 summit, said Thursday that he would seek international cooperation in response to North Korea's missile launch. Kishida described the action as an "unacceptable act of violence," Reuters reported.

'Urgent and serious' situation

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the missile launch was a violation of an ICBM moratorium that North Korea had promised, describing the situation as "urgent and serious."

"It is a violation of the U.N. Security Council's Resolution and it is creating a serious danger to the international community as well as the Korean peninsula amid the war in Ukraine," Moon said, according to his presidential spokesperson. "I strongly condemn once again," he added.

Separately, the U.S. said it "strongly condemns" North Korea's test of a long-range ballistic missile and sharply criticized North Korea's regime.

"This launch is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The White House urged all countries to hold North Korea accountable for its actions and called for "serious negotiations" with Pyongyang.

President Joe Biden and the national security team were said to be assessing the situation in coordination with international allies.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a rocket that appeared to explode in mid-air over the capital of Pyongyang shortly after liftoff, South Korea's military said. It came amid reports the country was seeking to test-fire its largest missile yet.

South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have all condemned North Korea's ballistic missile tests, which have taken place with record frequency in recent months. Thursday's launch, according to Reuters, would be at least the 13th missile test-fired by Pyongyang since the start of the year.

Copyright CNBCs - CNBC
Contact Us