North Korea fires a missile; South condemns ‘serious provocations’ By Reuters

by The Insights

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flies next to an accordion wire at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired what could be a new model of ballistic missile on Thursday, South Korea said, triggering an alert in northern Japan, where residents have been urged to stand safe, even though it turned out that there was no danger.

The missile traveled about 1,000 km (620 miles), the South Korean military said, calling it a “serious provocation”.

The missile’s apogee, or maximum altitude, has not been officially disclosed, although South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said it appeared to have been less than 3,000 km – well below the height of some tests last year, which exceeded 6,000 km.

South Korea’s military said it was on high alert and coordinating closely with its main ally, the United States, which “strongly condemned” what the White House said in a statement. communicated as a long-range ballistic missile test.

A South Korean military official said the test apparently involved a new weapons system displayed at a recent North Korean military parade.

The military was analyzing the projectile’s trajectory and range, and the Defense Ministry said it could be a solid-fuel missile.

North Korea has worked to build more solid-fuel missiles that are easier to store and transport, and can be launched without warning or preparation time.

While North Korea has tested short-range solid-fuel missiles, it has not tested such a long-range missile, said Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at US firm RAND Corporation.

The missile was fired at 07:23 (2223 GMT Wednesday) from near Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, meaning it could have been launched from an international airport near the capital, a major site for large-scale firing tests. missiles since 2017.


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called a meeting of the National Security Council in response to the launch.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile appeared to have been fired east at a high angle and did not fall into Japanese territory.

The Japanese Coast Guard said the projectile fell into the sea east of North Korea. Hamada said he could not confirm whether the missile flew over Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Japanese authorities withdrew the alert for the island of Hokkaido when they determined the missile would not land nearby.

A student told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the alert caused a momentary alarm at a train station.

“For a second on the train, there was panic, but a station worker said to calm down, and people did,” the unidentified man told NHK.

The launch came days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for strengthening war deterrence in a “more practical and offensive” way to counter what North Korea called aggression moves. the United States.

While condemning the latest in a series of North Korean missile tests, the United States renewed its offer to open talks.

“The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and choose diplomatic engagement instead,” said US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. , in a press release.

North Korea has criticized recent joint military exercises between US and South Korean forces as an escalation of tensions, stepping up its weapons tests in recent months.

(This story has been reclassified to restore the deleted word “throw” in paragraph 10)

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