North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, says Seoul

The latest episode in a record series of projectile fires in recent weeks: North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, according to the South Korean army. A little earlier, the southern army had indicated that it had detected “the launch of an unidentified ballistic missile in the direction of the east”.

Japan has confirmed the launch, calling it “absolutely unacceptable”, according to its prime minister. He warned that the ICBM appeared to have fallen back into its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), near the northern island of Hokkaido. The Japanese side guards have asked ships crossing the area not to approach any debris that may be floating in the sea. For the moment, no damage to ships or planes has been reported.

“We protested harshly to North Korea. (This one) repeats acts of provocation with unprecedented frequency. We strongly reiterate that this is absolutely unacceptable,” said Fumio Kishida. “Japan, the United States and South Korea must coordinate closely to work towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

On November 3, North Korea had already launched an ICBM but that launch had apparently failed, according to Seoul and Tokyo. The country had broken last March a moratorium that it had imposed on itself in 2017 on the launches of this type of long-range missile.

To read: “China and Russia no longer hold back North Korea”

Pyongyang’s “military response” announced

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North Korea had already fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, hours after a warning from its foreign minister. The more Washington strives to strengthen its security alliance with Tokyo and Seoul, “the fiercer the DPRK’s military response will be,” Minister Choe Son Hui said, using the sign of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

Read also: Promising ‘fierce’ response, North Korea fires new missile

North Korea launched an unprecedented flurry of projectiles in early November, including a ballistic missile that fell near South Korea’s territorial waters. President Yoon denounced a “de facto territorial invasion”. In September and October, Pyongyang had already carried out a copious series of firings, including that of a medium-range ballistic missile which, on October 4, had flown over Japan for the first time in five years.

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