North Korea launches first ICBM since 2017


March 24, 2022


North Korea launches first ICBM since 2017

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 24, 2022. (Via VOA News)

North Korea launched what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile Thursday, the Japanese and South Korean governments concluded, in what would be Pyongyang’s first long-range launch since 2017.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense says the North Korean missile flew for more than 70 minutes before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, just 170 kilometers west of northern Japan’s Aomori Prefecture.

The missile reached an altitude of 6,000 kilometers and had a range of 1,100 kilometers, according to Japanese officials, who said the weapon appears to be a new type of ICBM.

During an emergency meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council, South Korean President Moon Jae-in “strongly condemned” the launch, saying it violated North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on long-range launches.

North Korea has repeatedly warned it is preparing to launch a military spy satellite. U.S. officials say such a launch would also essentially amount to a long-range missile test and may involve a massive new ICBM experts say can carry multiple warheads.

North Korea has not launched a satellite since 2016. Its most recent ICBM test was in 2017, during the height of tensions between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim announced a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM and nuclear tests in 2018, amid talks with Trump and his South Korean counterpart, President Moon Jae-in. That moratorium now appears to be defunct.

North Korea has conducted 12 rounds of missile tests this year, including at least two that it says were to prepare for the satellite launch.

The North is systematically working through a wish list of strategic weapons laid out last year by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

It is not yet clear whether North Korea’s latest launch involved a satellite. North Korea has not commented on the test. It usually does not announce its missile activities until the following morning in state media. (VOA News)