North Korea tests long-range missile

North Korea missile
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North Korea tests long-range missile

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea test-fired possibly its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile toward the sea Thursday, according to its neighbors, raising the ante in a pressure campaign aimed at forcing the United States and other rivals to accept it as a nuclear power and remove crippling sanctions.

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The launch, which extended North Korea’s barrage of weapons tests this year, came after the U.S. and South Korean militaries said the country was preparing a flight of a new large ICBM first unveiled in October 2020.

South Korea’s military responded with live-fire drills of its own missiles launched from land, a fighter jet and a ship, underscoring a revival of tensions as nuclear negotiations remain frozen. It said it confirmed readiness to execute precision strikes against North Korea’s missile launch points as well as command and support facilities.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North’s ICBM fired from the Sunan area near capital Pyongyang traveled 1,080 kilometers (670 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of over 6,200 kilometers (3,850 miles). The missile was apparently fired on high angle to avoid reaching the territorial waters of Japan.

Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Makoto Oniki said flight details suggested a new type of ICBM.

“It’s an unforgivable recklessness. We resolutely condemn the act,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after arriving in Belgium for the Group of Seven meetings.

The missile flew 71 minutes before possibly landing near Japanese territorial waters off the island of Hokkaido, said Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. Japan may search for debris inside its exclusive economic zone to analyze the North’s technology, he said.

Japan’s coast guard issued a warning to vessels in nearby waters, but there were no immediate reports of damage to boats or aircraft. A Japanese fisheries organizations released a statement denouncing the launch as a “barbaric act” that puts fishermen’s lives and livelihoods at risk.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in during an emergency National Security Council meeting criticized North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for breaking a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM tests and posing a “serious threat” to the region and the broader international community.

The United States strongly condemns the North’s launch, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, calling it a “brazen violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions that risks destabilizing the region’s security.

Dialing up pressure, North Korea tests long-range missile  The Associated Press – en Español

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