South Korea says North Korea is testing ICBMs and two more

South Korea said the missile, which was supposed to have been launched at around 6 a.m. local time Wednesday, has a flight range of about 360 kilometers (223 miles) and an altitude of about 540 kilometers (335 miles).

At about 6:37 a.m., North Korea launched a second ballistic missile — not believed to be an ICBM — which appears to have disappeared from South Korean tracking at an altitude of 20 kilometers (12 miles), South Korea said.

The South Korean authority added that the third missile, which is assumed to be a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), flew about 760 kilometers (472 miles) and had an altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles).

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said intelligence authorities from South Korea and the United States were analyzing the tests to get more details.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kiichi said Japan also reported firing at least two North Korean missiles, one of them flying in an “irregular trajectory” at a distance of about 750 km (466 miles).

Kishi said the missile landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that South Korea and the United States each launched a missile into the sea off the Korean Peninsula in response to recent tests by North Korea. A US military statement confirmed the launches.

“He has demonstrated that our military has the ability and willingness to strike the origin of provocation with precision with our overwhelming force,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff added.

The South Korean Air Force also conducted an “elephant tour” on Wednesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, flying about 30 armed F-15K fighter jets onto the runway as a show of strength.

Last week, a US official warned that North Korea appeared to be preparing to test an ICBM during Biden’s trip, after satellite images revealed activity at the launch site near the capital, Pyongyang.
Biden met new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at the weekend, with the two leaders saying they would begin exploring expanding joint military exercises between their countries.

When asked if he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Biden said it “will depend on whether he is sincere and whether he is serious.”

So far, a senior US administration official said, Biden’s strategy has not resulted in a working meeting with North Korea in the year since the administration completed a review of US policy toward the rebellious kingdom, adding that it “was not due to a lack of trying…”

Meanwhile, Yoon said that South Korea and its allies are ready for any provocative actions by North Korea.

Last month, Kim pledged to “strengthen and develop” his nuclear forces as quickly as possible.

The latest launches mark the 16th time North Korea has tested its missiles this year, including what the US believes was a failed ICBM test on May 4 that exploded shortly after launch.

But North Korea is believed to have tested an ICBM in late March.

This missile flew at an altitude of 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) and a distance of 1,080 kilometers (671 miles) with a flight time of 71 minutes before falling into waters off Japan’s west coast, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry.

US military and intelligence agencies estimate that Pyongyang may also be preparing for its first underground nuclear test in nearly five years.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Jake Kwon, Brad Lyndon, Oren Lieberman, Kevin Liptak, Jesse Young and Paula Hancock contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment