North Korea has fired what neighbouring countries said appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a day after launching a smaller missile and warning of “fiercer military responses” to the United States (US) increasing its security presence in the region. Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, said the missile, which reached an altitude of 6,000km (3,730 miles), was capable of travelling as far as 15,000km (9,320 milles), giving it the range to reach the mainland of the US.
The missile landed in the sea roughly 210km (130 miles) west of Hokkaido.
The US has condemned the launch, while South Korea has ordered stronger deterrence measures against the North. It Added that it would “take all necessary measures” to guarantee the security of the U.S. and its allies South Korea and Japan. Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in Bangkok for a regional forum, noted that the launch was a “brazen violation” of United Nations Security Council resolutions and called on North Korea to “stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts.”
It was revealed by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff that both the U.S. and South Korea responded to the launch by holding joint air force drills involving advanced F-35A fighter jets,
On Thursday North Korean FM Choe Son Hui warned of a "fiercer" response to any increased US military presence in the region.
Both the South Korean and Japanese governments convened emergency meetings. They said they were closely monitoring the situation in coordination with the U.S., which has military bases in both countries.
“There is nothing that North Korea could gain through these continued provocations,” South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement.
“The international sanctions against North Korea will only strengthen, and North Korea’s international isolation will only get worse.”
Although the launch is still being investigated, it was most likely developmental as North Korea tries to improve its ICBMs, said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.