North Korea fired yet another suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday, prompting residents in parts of central and northern Japan to seek shelter.
The alleged ICBM launch marks the North’s seventh this year and was followed by two short-range ballistic launches into the sea. However, the ICBM launch was ultimately unsuccessful, the South Korean military said.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected that North Korea fired an ICBM from an area near its capital, Pyongyang, at about 7:40 a.m. local time, followed one hour later by two short-range missiles from the nearby city of Kaechon. Those traveled about 330 kilometers (205 miles) before falling closer to North Korea’s eastern coast, officials said.
The longer-range missile reached a maximum altitude of 1,920 kilometers (1,193 miles) and traveled around 760 kilometers (472 miles), South Korea’s military said, before falling into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. It also appeared to have been fired at an angle, likely in an effort to avoid entering neighboring territories, officials said.
The suspected ICBM launch appeared to have succeeded in separating at the second stage but is believed to have failed after that, officials told CNN.
Japanese officials announced similar flight details but said they had lost track of one of the weapons, reportedly the ICBM, after it “disappeared” in skies above waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office said in a statement that the “launch of a ballistic missile in a manner that passes through the airspace over Japan is an act that can potentially seriously impact the lives and property of the Japanese people.”
The Japanese government said it would continue to investigate if any damage had occurred from the launch and analyze any information regarding North Korea’s possible future actions, in collaboration with the United States and the Republic of Korea, as well as with other relevant countries.
The government has lodged an immediate protest with Pyongyang via Beijing, according to The Guardian.
Thursday’s launches come just one day after North fired more than 20 missiles, the most it had ever launched in a single day. Three hours later, South Korea quickly responded by launching its own air-to-ground missiles in the same border area.
Hours before firing those missiles, North Korea had warned that the United States and South Korea would pay “the most horrible price in history” if they used military force against it.
US Condemns Missile Launch
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Biden administration condemned the tests and said it would “take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland” and its allies South Korea and Japan.
“The President and his national security team are assessing the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said. “This launch, in addition to the launch of multiple other ballistic missiles this week, is a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region.”
Watson added that the latest missile launch demonstrates that North Korea “continues to prioritize its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people.”
The latest launches also come as the United States and South Korea are conducting joint air drills, known as Vigilant Storm, which are set to last until Nov. 4. North Korea has condemned the joint air drills as an “invasion rehearsal.”
“The DPRK is ready to take all necessary measures for defending its sovereignty, people’s security and territorial integrity from outside military threats,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday. “If the U.S. persists in the grave military provocations, the DPRK will consider taking more powerful follow-up measures.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times