Japan: N Korea missile test shows potential ability to hit US

This is North Korea’s second major weapons test this month, demonstrating its determination to perfect a weapon system aimed at the US mainland.

TOKYO, Japan — North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near the Sea of ​​Japan on Friday in its second major weapons test this month, demonstrating its ability to launch strikes. nuclear power into the entire continental United States.

The United States was quick to criticize the launch and vowed to take “all necessary measures” to ensure the safety of the mainland as well as its allies South Korea and Japan. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet privately with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada who are attending a regional forum in Bangkok to discuss North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launch.

North Korea’s continued weapons tests are aimed at enhancing its nuclear arsenal and winning greater diplomatic concessions in the end, and they come as China and Russia oppose the moves by North Korea. The United States aims to strengthen sanctions to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said they detected an ICBM launch from the North Korean capital area at around 10:15 a.m. and the weapon flew towards the east coast of North Korea across the country. Japan said the ICBM appeared to have flown in high orbit and landed west of Hokkaido.

According to estimates by South Korea and Japan, the North Korean missile flew about 6,000-6,100 kilometers (3,600-3,790 miles) at a maximum altitude of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters the altitude showed the missile was launched at a high angle. Depending on the weight of the warhead placed on the missile, he said, the weapon has a range in excess of 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), “in which case it could cover the entire continental United States.” .

US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the launch “unnecessarily raises tensions and risks destabilizing” regional security and shows North Korea’s priorities. for illegal weapons programs is the welfare of the people. He said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the launch.

“Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and opt for diplomatic engagement instead,” Watson said. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of our homeland, South Korea and our Japanese allies.”

Hamada, Japan’s defense minister, called the launch a “reckless act that threatens Japan as well as the region and the international community.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch a “serious provocation and grave threat” aimed at undermining international and regional peace and security. It said South Korea maintained its readiness to make “an overwhelming response to any provocation by North Korea” in the context of close coordination with the United States.

After being informed of the launch, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered officials to strengthen trilateral security cooperation with the United States and Japan and take unspecified containment steps. previously agreed upon with the United States. Yoon also ordered officials to push for strong international condemnation and sanctions against North Korea, according to his office.

North Korea also launched an ICBM on November 3, but experts say the weapon failed to make its intended flight and fell into the sea after a separation phase. That test is believed to involve a developing ICBM called the Hwasong-17. North Korea has two other types of ICBMs – the Hwasong-14 and the Hwasong-15 – and their test launches in 2017 demonstrated that they are capable of reaching areas of the United States.

The Hwasong-17 has a longer range than other types and its huge size suggests it was designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat missile defense systems. Some experts believe that the November 3 test showed some technological progress in the development of the Hwasong-17, since during the previous test in March, the missile exploded shortly after the launch of the Hwasong-17. take off.

It is unclear if North Korea will re-launch the Hwasong-17 missile on Friday or something else.

In recent months, North Korea has carried out dozens of short-range missile tests, which it called simulated nuclear strikes against South Korean and American targets. But the country paused weapons launches for about a week before firing a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday.

Ahead of Thursday’s missile launch, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui had threatened “more intense” military responses against the United States to bolster the country’s security commitment to its allies in South Korea. and Japan.

Choe was referring to President Biden’s recent tripartite summit with Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Cambodia. In a joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to defend South Korea and Japan by all means, including nuclear weapons.

Choe did not say what steps North Korea might take but said that “the US will be well aware that they are gambling and will surely regret it”.

Pyongyang sees the US military presence in the region as evidence of its hostility towards North Korea. It said a recent spate of weapons launches was its response to what it called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

There have been concerns that North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test in five years as its next major step to bolster its military capabilities against the United States and its allies.

North Korea has been subject to several rounds of UN sanctions for its previous nuclear and missile tests. But no new sanctions have been imposed this year despite the country’s dozens of ballistic missile launches, which are banned under UN Security Council resolutions.

That could happen because China and Russia, two of the UN Council’s veto members, oppose the new UN sanctions. Washington is caught in strategic competition with Beijing and in confrontation with Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/north-korea-missile-test-ability-to-hit-us/507-b0041e82-aa65-4b4e-af26-e1392936d31e Japan: N Korea missile test shows potential ability to hit US

Edmund DeMarche

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