It is 7.40 on Thursday morning when the alarms on cell phones and radios go off in Tokyo. North Korea has launched an ICBM over its eastern waters, adding to a recent flurry of provocations that government officials say could culminate with a nuclear test in the coming weeks. Today’s provocations were also detected by South Korea, where citizens had already been awakened by sirens yesterday.
The ICBM test, the interconintheal missile, was followed by two short-range ballistic launches. An aggravating factor compared to the events of yesterday, when a record number of 23 missiles were fired in one day, and a gesture condemned by the neighbors and the United States. The US has declared its willingness to take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the security of the allies of South Korea and Japan. The Biden administration has also warned of “additional costs and consequences” if the North detonates a nuclear device for the first time since September 2017.
It is still unclear whether the North Korean missile test was successful. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced similar flight details, but said his military lost track of the weapon after it “disappeared” in the skies over the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Choi Yong Soo, a South Korean Navy captain who is in charge of public affairs for the Seoul Ministry of Defense, did not directly answer the question of whether the military believes the launch could have failed with the missile exploding in mid-air. saying the test was still being analyzed. There were no reports of damage or injuriesbut for the third time in a month, high-speed train services in some areas were temporarily suspended following the alert.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the Northern launches and said officials were analyzing the details of the weapons. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office said its national security director Kim Sung-han discussed the launches at an emergency security meeting, where members talked about plans to strengthen the country’s defense in partnership. with the United States. The office said South Korea will maintain its combined military exercises with the United States, which began on October 31 and were due to end on November 4, in response to intensified North Korea’s testing activity. «The joint air forces have decided to extend the exercise Vigilant Stormwhich began on October 31, in relation to the recent provocations from the North, ”said the Seoul Air Force in a statement.
From the Biden administration came the condemnation of Adrienne Watson, spokesman for the US National Security Council, who released a statement saying that the United States strongly condemns the Northern ICBM test and that President Joe Biden and his national security team are assessing the situation: “This launch, in addition to the launch of several other ballistic missiles this week, is a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. and unnecessarily increases tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region ”.
One of more than 20 missiles fired by North Korea on Wednesday flew to a populous island in South Korea and landed near the sea border, triggering air raid sirens and forcing Ulleung Island residents to evacuate. South Korea promptly responded by launching its own missiles in the same border area. Those launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to persuade the United States and South Korea to “pay the most horrible price in history” in protest against South Korean military exercises. – Americans underway and considered evidence of a potential invasion.
North Korea stepped up demonstrations this year. It has fired dozens of missiles, including its first ICBM demonstration since 2017. US and South Korean officials say it could up the ante in the coming weeks with the first detonation of a nuclear device since September 2017. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin about Wednesday’s missile launches, including the one that “recklessly and dangerously” landed near the South Korean coast, and stressed the US commitment to ally safety.
Last October Pyongyang fired, in what was described as a test, a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, which experts say it would potentially be able to reach Guam, a major US military hub in the Pacific. That launch forced the Japanese government to issue evacuation notices and suspend rail services. Nuclear talks between the US administration and Pyongyang have been stalled since early 2019 due to disagreements in US-led sanctions against the considered slow steps of denuclearization in the North.