South Korea has reportedly launched missiles in response to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea that landed in Japanese waters today. This marks the first time North Korea has launched an ICBM since 2017, despite previously agreeing to the international community that these weapons would not be tested.
North Korea has now tested multiple weapons in the past few days, which have the capability to carry nuclear warheads. In response, South Korea has fired multiple missiles of their own in a live-fire test and stated that they are ready and capable of conducting direct, precision strikes on the origin of the North Korean missiles, according to Sky News.
Japan’s coast guard said that North Korea launched a projectile that landed in the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around 170 kilometers (106 miles) west of the coast of Japan. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile traveled 1,080 kilometers (670 miles) from near Pyongyang, Reuters reports. It took 71 minutes and landed somewhere near the island of Hokkaido, Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. This is a dangerously close impact point and one that has provoked fierce opposition by South Korea, Japan, and the US.
It is believed to be the largest North Korean missile test that has ever taken place, and may even be a "new type" of ICBM, Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister said. There are reports it was a Hwasong-17, larger than the Hwasong-15 tested in 2017, but this hasn't been confirmed.
The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has released a statement in the wake of the multiple launches that have taken place, condemning it in the strongest possible terms.
“This launch is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” said Psaki in a statement.
“This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people.”