South Korean and Japanese officials say North Korea has launched a suspected ICBM into the sea off Japan.

Seoul, South Korea

North Korea On Friday, it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in the second missile test by the Kim Jong Un regime in two days, in actions described as unacceptable by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The ICBM was launched around 10:15 a.m. local time from Sunan District in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, flying about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Kishida said it likely fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Japan’s Oshima Island, according to the Japan Coast Guard. It did not fly over Japan.

“North Korea continues to carry out provocative actions at an unprecedented pace,” Kishida told reporters on Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

He said, “I want to reiterate that we cannot accept such actions.”

He said the Japanese government will continue to collect and analyze information and provide immediate updates to the public. So far, Kishida added, there have been no reports of damage to ships at sea.

The ICBM reached an altitude of about 6,100 kilometers (3,790 miles) at Mach 22, or 22 times the speed of sound, according to JCS, which said the details were being analyzed by intelligence authorities in South Korea and the United States.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a major provocation and an act of grave threat,” warning the North of violating a United Nations Security Council resolution and urging it to stop immediately.

Misawa Air Force Base issued an alert shelter in place after the missile launch, according to USAF Col. Greg Higgnight, director of public affairs for the US-Japanese forces. It has now been lifted and the flight path is still being analyzed by the US military, he said.

The launch comes a day after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, and issued a stern warning to the United States of a “fierce military response” to its stricter defense ties with South Korea. and Japan.

It is the second suspected test launch of an ICBM this month – a missile launched earlier on November 3. It seems to failA South Korean government source told CNN at the time.

The aggressive acceleration of weapons testing and rhetoric has alarmed the region, as the United States, South Korea and Japan have responded with missile launches and joint military exercises.

North Korea is “trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and signaling it has the potential to make American cities vulnerable to nuclear attack,” said Leif Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul.

North Korea has conducted missile tests over 34 days this year, sometimes firing multiple missiles in one day, according to a CNN tally. The toll includes both cruise and ballistic missiles, with the latter making up the majority of North Korea’s tests this year.

There are fundamental differences between these two types of missiles.

A ballistic missile is launched with a missile and travels outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gliding through space before re-entering the atmosphere and landing, powered only by gravity toward its target.

A cruise missile is powered by a jet engine, remains within the Earth’s atmosphere during its flight and is maneuverable using control surfaces similar to those of aircraft.

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that while he wouldn’t see Friday’s supposed ICBM launch “as a message in itself,” it could be seen as part of North Korea’s “process” of developing capabilities. which Kim has identified as necessary to modernize its nuclear forces.”

US and international observers have been warning for months that North Korea appears to be preparing an underground nuclear test, with satellite images showing activity at the nuclear test site. Such a test would be the first for the Hermit Nation in five years.

The ICBM test was designed to validate parts of North Korea’s missile programme, something Kim Jong Un pledged to do this year, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The recent short-range tests, Lewis said, “are an exercise for front-line artillery units practicing pre-emptive nuclear strikes.”

He denied any political or negotiating message from the tests.

“I wouldn’t think of these tests as signals in the first place. North Korea is not interested in talking right now,” Lewis said.

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