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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

North Korea Deploys Suspected ICBM amid Fresh Missile Tests, Japan Says ‘Intolerable’

Meanwhile, Japanese defence minister, Yasukazu Hamada confirmed that none of the missiles had flown overhead in Japan

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JAPAN.Tokyo: On Thursday, North Korea unleashed at least three ballistic missiles off its east coast. The missiles included a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from its capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said.

Following North Korea’s missile operations in the heart of the South China sea, its close neighbor, Japan, raised emergency alarms in the north for civilian evacuation in the prefectures of Miyagi, Yamagata, and Niigata.

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Moreover, the local authorities temporarily suspended trains over fears that one of the missiles would pass overhead.

However, authorities notified shortly later that the missile was submerged in the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in South Korea).

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The long-range missile landed in waters about 1,100km off the coast, according to Japanese media reports.

Japanese defence minister Yasukazu Hamada confirmed that none of the missiles had flown overhead in Japan.

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed safety concerns regarding the missile tests and said the launches were “outrageous and absolutely intolerable”.

Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of state Wendy Sherman spoke to her South Korean counterpart on the pressing issue of North Korea’s missile tests.

“Our commitment to the security of the ROK [Republic of Korea] and Japan remains ironclad, and we’ll partner to address DPRK provocations and other shared challenges,” she said.

Seoul said launches were composed of a long-range missile fired from NK hub Pyongyang and two short-range missiles deployed from Kaechon, north of the capital city.

Pyongyang has a consistent history of launching sudden, unprovoked missiles in the South China Sea area, which many political experts suggest could be a potential threat.

In October, North Korea conducted a missile test over Japan, in what it described as a test of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Geo-political experts said the missiles could potentially reach Guam, a US military base in the Pacific.

The Japanese government remained on high alert as evacuation operations, and train halts were set in place.

Thursday’s launches are the latest in a series of persistent missile tests from North Korea. On Wednesday, Pyongyang fired 25 missiles of various kinds – including one that landed close to South Korea’s waters, in what President Yoon Suk-yeol said was effectively “a territorial invasion by a missile”.

Never in the history of the Korean armistice since the 1945 division of the peninsula a North Korean missile landed this close to South Korea’s territory, alerting the government to trigger air raid sirens and evacuation measures.

North Korea said the launches were in retaliation to the recent joint military drills conducted by South Korea with the US, known as Vigilant Storm.

These joint military exercises, intended to deter and deflect NK’s nuclear ambitions, include 240 warplanes, including advanced F-35 stealth fighters – conducting about 1,600 sorties.

The large-scale NK drills began on Monday and are expected to continue until Friday.

Also Read: North Korea Claims It Tested Two Nuclear-capable Cruise Missiles

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