North Korea fires a missile that could be a new weapon.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile in a month, possibly the first test of a new, more mobile and difficult-to-detect missile, its neighbors said. Conducting weapons tests.

In order to show Japan’s concern for North Korea, it urged the residents of the northern island to take shelter Missile threat.

The missile was launched at a high angle from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and crashed into the water after a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) flight between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korean military officials said in a statement.

He described the range as medium or long. The US National Security Council described it as a long-range missile, and the Japanese government said it likely had an intercontinental range.

South Korea’s military believes North Korea has launched a new type of ballistic missile, possibly using solid fuel, a defense official said on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

If the launch involves a solid-fuel ICBM, it will be the North’s first test of such a weapon. North Korea’s known ICBMs all use liquid propellants that must be ignited before launch. But the fuel in a strong-moving device It is preloaded, allowing it to be moved easily and fired quickly.

A solid-fuel ICBM is one of the key technological weapons that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to better counter US military threats. It also wants a multi-warhead missile, a nuclear-powered submarine, a hypersonic missile and a spy satellite.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korea Studies in Seoul, said the launch could be related to preparations to launch a new medium- or long-range missile powered by solid propellants or a North Korean spy satellite.

Adrian Watson, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said the latest move would “increase tensions and threaten to undermine the security situation in the region”. Watson said that the United States will take all necessary measures to ensure this The security of America’s homeland and allies of South Korea and Japan.

At an emergency meeting of Seoul’s National Security Council, officials stressed the need to strengthen trilateral security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held the NSC meeting to analyze the outbreak and Japan’s response.

Nuclear envoys from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo called for a “decisive and united international response” to end North Korea’s provocations and illicit financing of its weapons program.

North Korea routinely tests missiles over international waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, using high-altitude routes to avoid neighboring countries. South Korea and Japan will not issue evacuation orders until it is confirmed that a North Korean missile is flying in their direction.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that the North Korean missile launched Thursday did not reach Japan’s exclusive economic zone. But Japanese authorities are still urging people on the northern island of Hokkaido to seek shelter and suspending train, bus and subway services. Local communities also put on warning sirens through community speakers, urging people to evacuate.

The government then retracted the missile warning, saying there was no chance the missile would land near Hokkaido. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters the warning was based on Japan’s defense ministry’s earlier assessment of the missile’s trajectory and was an “appropriate” step to prioritize people’s safety.

Japanese authorities issued a similar evacuation order in October a North Korea’s medium-range missile flew over Japan With a launch showing the device’s ability to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Thursday’s launch is North America’s first long-range missile launch since the launch. It tested the long-range liquid-fueled Hwasong-17 ICBM. On March 16. Kim Jong Un announced his country’s attack plan on Monday and It has pledged to develop its own nuclear arsenal. In more “functional and offensive” ways.

North Korea has launched nearly 100 missiles since the end of 2022, many of which are nuclear-capable, putting them within striking distance of the US mainland, South Korea or Japan.

The test movement in the North is mostly protest. South Korea-US military exercise As he sees it as an exercise in invasion. Some observers say North Korea is using its rivals’ exercises as a pretext to modernize its weapons base and pressure Washington and Seoul to make concessions, such as lifting economic sanctions. South Korean and US officials say the drills are defensive in nature and designed to respond to North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.

Last Thursday, China, North Korea’s last major ally, again blamed the US and South Korea for the escalation of hostilities.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement, “The negative impact of the US military exercises and strategic weapons deployed in the Gulf a few days ago is clear to all.

North Korea unveiled a new type of nuclear weapon in late March, sparking fears it could conduct its first nuclear test in more than five years. Foreign experts debate whether North Korea has developed warheads. Small and easy to fit on most advanced missiles.

South Korean officials say North Korea has not been responding to South Korean cross-border phone calls for a week. Communications over those channels are meant to prevent potential conflicts on the rival western sea border.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Yang-se expressed “strong regret” over North Korea’s “one-sided and irresponsible attitude” on a hotline.

North Korea’s advancing nuclear arsenal is expected to be a major topic at the summit between South Korean President Yun Suk Yoo and US President Joe Biden in Washington later this month.

World leaders’ talks at the Group of Seven summit in Japan in May could be crucial to maintaining diplomatic pressure on North Korea, experts say. Permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia, have suspended tough sanctions on North Korea in recent months, signaling a split over Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Yamaguchi reports from Tokyo.

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