North Korea has fired another missile, according to South Korea and Japan. The ballistic missile was fired towards the Sea of Japan on Thursday, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing the military. During the missile tests, North Korea is said to have fired a suspected nuclear-capable missile with a range of thousands of kilometers.
North Korea launched three ballistic missiles toward the open sea on Thursday morning (local time), the first of which may have been an ICBM, the South Korean Armed Forces General Staff said. He initially did not confirm reports from South Korean media that the test of the multi-stage rocket failed because of problems after the launch phase.
In South Korea, there was initially some confusion about determining the type of missile. According to the Office of National Security of the President’s Office, it could also be a so-called longer-range medium-range missile (IRMB), reported the South Korean broadcaster KBS. According to the military, the rocket flew about 760 kilometers at an altitude of up to 1920 kilometers.
Both types can serve as carrier rockets for nuclear weapons, the testing of which the self-declared nuclear power North Korea is prohibited by UN resolutions. ICBMs include missiles with ranges of at least 5,500 kilometers. The other two missiles shot down by North Korea in an easterly direction on Thursday morning are said to have been short-range missiles.
The latest North Korean missile test also caused confusion in Japan, where Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was staying before he left for South Korea that evening. The government in Tokyo had previously corrected initial information that the first longer-range rocket had flown over Japan. The missile had disappeared from radar over the Japan Sea. There has been no damage in Japan from the missiles. Residents in some northeastern and central Japan prefectures had previously been asked to remain in their homes for safety.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the first missile was launched around 7:40 a.m. local time. The potential trajectory could have sent the missile flying over Japan. But she disappeared from the radar over the Japan Sea. The reason for the disappearance from the radar is still under investigation, it said. On October 4, a North Korean missile flew over Japan.
Despite international criticism, North Korea has been carrying out missile tests at an unusually high frequency since the end of September. According to the South Korean military, the country had fired more than 20 rockets on the east and west coasts throughout the day on Wednesday. Of these, a short-range missile crossed the eastern maritime border between the two countries. South Korea’s military responded accordingly and, according to its own statements, fired three air-to-surface missiles from fighter jets into the open sea north of the border line.
The new North Korean missile tests were also seen in South Korea as a response to the largest air force exercise by South Korean and US forces in several years. North Korea had accused the two countries of “reckless” military provocations and threatened countermeasures. The multi-day exercises in South Korea will continue until Friday.
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