North Korea fires intercontinental missile on day of Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Japan

North Korea fired at least one intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards the Sea of ​​Japan on Thursday, Seoul said, a few hours before South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s arrival in Tokyo.

“Our army detected a long-range ballistic missile fired from the Sunan area in Pyongyang,” the joint staff told AFP, telling AFP it was an ICBM. Tokyo said the missile had reached a maximum altitude of more than 6,000 km.

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A summit between South Korea and Japan

At a meeting of the National Security Council, Yoon Suk Yeol called for strengthening trilateral cooperation with Japan and the United States, adding that “North Korea will pay a fair price for these reckless provocations”, reported his office in a statement.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced to the press that he would meet the ministers of the National Security Council. “Peace and stability in the region are very important issues for the countries concerned”, underlined Fumio Kishida.

Thursday’s launch came hours before the leaders of South Korea and Japan are due to meet in Tokyo, with Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs expected to be at the center of their discussions. The summit is the first in 12 years between the two neighboring powers, which seek to mend ties long damaged by atrocities committed by Japan during its 35 years of colonial rule over Korea (1910-1945).

The two countries are currently increasing their defense spending and regularly hold joint military exercises, which Yoon Suk Yeol said is essential for regional and global stability. “South Korea and Japan increasingly need to cooperate in this time of ‘polycrisis’ where North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are escalating,” South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Wednesday. in an interview with several media, including AFP.

Military maneuvers intensified for ‘real war’

It is Pyongyang’s third show of force since Sunday, when South Korea and the United States hold their biggest joint military drills in five years this week.

On this subject: North Korea fires two new short-range ballistic missiles

North Korea timed the launch on the day of the summit to achieve a “double effect”, namely a warning to its neighbors and a protest against the joint exercises between the United States and South Korea, according to experts.

In early March, leader Kim Jong-un ordered his army to step up military maneuvers for “real war.”

Leif Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, felt that with this essay, Kim Jong-un wanted on the one hand to “threaten Tokyo”, which wishes to “deepen trilateral cooperation with Washington and Seoul”, and to on the other hand “to dissuade South Korea from carrying out other defense exercises with the United States”.

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