Seoul believes that the first projectile fired by Pyongyang was intercontinental
North Korea today fired three apparently ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in the two Koreas), according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). In fact, the South Korean military believes that the first of the three missiles was intercontinental, a test that would violate international law and which he described as a “serious provocation” that increases tension in the region. According to estimates by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the apparently intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would have traveled about 360 kilometers at a maximum height of about 540 km, calculations similar to those of the Japanese military authorities, which also detected the launches .
The first shot took place around 06:00 local time (21:00 GMT on Tuesday) and the other two in a period of about 45 minutes, according to the analysis of the southern army, which continues its investigations and deployed its fighters in launch response.
The missile test, the seventeenth of its kind since the beginning of the year, comes a day after US President Joe Biden concluded an Asian tour in Tokyo that also took him to South Korea, and which was focused on addressing Pyongyang’s weapons challenges, among other issues. Japanese authorities also detected the launches and stated that the projectiles fell outside waters belonging to Japan’s exclusive economic areaaccording to the state chain NHK.
The Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, affirmed that Japan “is compiling more details” of the missile test and that the Government “has given instructions to guarantee the safety of the ships in the entire area”, in statements collected by the aforementioned media . South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol also called a meeting of the National Security Council to analyze the latest North Korean test and try to determine what type of ballistic missiles it was.
The launches come after Pyongyang fired three missiles that were considered short-range ballistic missiles from the south on the 12th, also from the Sunan area of Pyongyang.
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo had been warning for weeks that they had detected Pyongyang preparations to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) imminently. Added to this is the fact that the regime has spent months preparing what would be its first nuclear test since 2017 in Punggye-ri (northeast of the country), where according to the allies everything is already ready in the absence of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, choosing the right moment to detonate an atomic device.
During his visit to South Korea last weekend and his subsequent trip to Japan between Sunday and Tuesday, Biden stressed the need to increase deterrence capacity on the Korean peninsula in the face of North provocations, although he also left the open door to dialogue with Pyongyang.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.