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Japan says Pyongyang’s latest missile launch elevates threat level

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Friday said that North Korea's latest launch, believed to be a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), has elevated the security threat level, Kyodo news agency reported.

Tokyo, 25 March 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Friday said that North Korea’s latest launch, believed to be a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), has elevated the security threat level, Kyodo news agency reported.

On Thursday, North Korea launched what it said was a “Hwasong-17,” a new type of ICBM. Japanese, South Korean and US officials also categorized the projectile as an ICBM.

24 March 2022, North Korea, —: A photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows the launching of a new intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea. According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired the missile near the capital Pyongyang. The North’s leader Kim Jong-un approved the launch, and the missile travelled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 kilometres and flew a distance of 1,090 km before falling into the East Sea, the KCNA said. Photo: -/kcna/dpa

The launch is “a serious threat to the peace and stability of Japan and the international community, moving to a different dimension from its series of previous missile launches,” Kishi said according to Kyodo.

North Korean state news agency KCNA on Friday said that the missile, launched from Pyongyang International Airport, traveled to a maximum altitude of over 6,000 kilometers and flew a distance of 1,090 kilometers “before accurately hitting the pre-set area in open waters” of the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

“The test-launch clearly proved that all the parameters of the weapon system exactly met the design requirements,” KCNA said.

24 March 2022, North Korea, Pyongyang: A photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) visiting Pyongyang International Airport, to inspect the launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The North’s leader Kim Jong-un approved the launch, and the missile traveled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers and flew a distance of 1,090 km before falling into the East Sea, the KCNA said. Photo: -/YNA/dpa

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa during a phone call “jointly condemned” the launch “as a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions,” US department of State spokesperson Ned Price said.

“This provocation, which follows two ICBM tests earlier this year, further demonstrates the threat [North Korea’s] unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose to the [its] neighbors and the broader international community,” Price said.

24 March 2022, North Korea, —: A photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) watching a test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile. According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired the missile near the capital Pyongyang. The missile travelled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 kilometres and flew a distance of 1,090 km before falling into the East Sea, the KCNA said. Photo: -/kcna/dpa

UN resolutions prohibit Pyongyang from testing any ballistic missiles. These are generally surface-to-surface missiles which, depending on their design, can also be armed with one or more nuclear warheads.

For years, Pyongyang has been advancing the development of such missiles, leading to tough international sanctions.

24 March 2022, North Korea, —: A photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) taking a photo with contributors to a test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile. According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired the missile near the capital Pyongyang. The missile travelled up to a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 kilometres and flew a distance of 1,090 km before falling into the East Sea, the KCNA said. Photo: -/kcna/dpa

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