Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

North Korea fired a missile suspected of being a long-range missile designed to hit the US mainland on Friday, its neighbors said, a day after North Korea resumed its testing activities in an apparent protest against US moves to strengthen its alliance with South Korea and Japan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected the launch of a ballistic missile from the North’s east coast on Friday morning. It was later said that the missile launched was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards the sea, South Korea’s military announced

Japan’s defense ministry also said in a statement that North Korea fired an ICBM-class ballistic missile from its western coastal area that flew toward eastern waters across the country. It said the missile, launched at around 10:14 a.m. (01:14 GMT), was still in flight and could land inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

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If confirmed, it would be North Korea’s first ICBM launch in about two weeks. Outside experts said the ICBM missile launched by North Korea on November 3 failed to fly on its intended flight.

The Nov. 3 test was believed to involve a new type of developmental ICBM. North Korea has two other types of ICBMs _ the Hwasong-14 and the Hwasong-15, and their test launches in 2017 proved they could potentially reach parts of the US homeland.

South Korea’s presidential office said it had called an emergency security meeting to discuss the North Korean launch.

“North Korea has repeatedly fired missiles this year with an unprecedented frequency and is significantly escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamad told reporters.

Click to play video: 'North Korea fires 2 missiles into eastern waters after US and South Korean military exercises'

North Korea fired 2 missiles towards the eastern waters following US and South Korean military exercises

The launch is the latest in a series of missile tests carried out by North Korea in recent weeks. But the country halted weapons launches about a week before it fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday.

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

Choe was referring to US President Joe Biden’s recent trilateral summit with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts 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. Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

Choe did not say what steps North Korea might take, but said that “the US will be well aware that it is taking a gamble that it will certainly regret.”

The North claimed that the US military presence in the region was proof of its hostility towards the country. He said their recent spate of weapons launches was in response to what he called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

© 2022 The Canadian Press