Seoul, South Korea – North Korea conducted a test launch of an alleged intercontinental ballistic missile and two short-range weapons on Wednesday, South Korea said hours after President Joe Biden stopped fighting. a trip to Asia where he confirmed the U.S. commitment to protect its allies from the North’s nuclear threat.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the president’s office also found steps in a nuclear detonator operation, part of what the office said was in preparation for Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017.

South Korea’s deputy national security adviser Kim Tae-hyu said such a test was unlikely to take place “in the coming days, but after,” according to Reuters.

If confirmed, the launch of the ICBM will be the first for the North in about two months amid a halt to nuclear diplomacy with the United States. Breaking the 2018 moratorium on long-range launches, North Korea in March claimed to have made a test launch of its longest-range missile as part of the development of active nuclear missiles that can reach the American homeland.

The launches happened like North Korea made many controversial claims that his first domestic COVID-19 the flash faded.

Following an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, the South Korean government said North Korea had released an alleged ICBM and two short-range ballistic missiles.

“North Korea’s ongoing provocations can only lead to stronger and faster joint deterrence between South Korea and the United States and can only deepen North Korea’s international isolation,” the South Korean government said in a statement. “(Our) government remains constantly prepared to respond decisively and effectively to any kind of North Korean provocation.”

The South Korean military said the ICBM suspect reached a maximum altitude of 335 miles, moving 223 miles east after being fired on from the region of the North Korean capital. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North had apparently lost a second missile 12 miles in flight, and a third missile had flown 472 miles at a peak of 37 miles.

A statement from the JCS said the U.S. and South Korean military in response fired two surface-to-surface missiles to demonstrate their strike capabilities. It says the allies noticed in advance North Korea’s preparations for launch. It says the South Korean Air Force on Tuesday conducted an “elephant walk” involving 30 fully armed F-15K fighters marching down the runway.

Tensions in South Korea
In this photo, provided by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, F-15K fighters of the South Korean Air Force are “walking on elephants” at an unidentified air base in South Korea on May 24, 2022.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense through the AP

Earlier, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the missile launches underscore the “destabilizing impact (of North Korea) of the illegal weapons program,” although they do not pose an immediate threat to U.S. territory and its allies. A statement from the command said the US commitment to defending South Korea and Japan “remains iron.”

The White House said Mr Biden had been briefed on the launch of North Korean missiles and would continue to keep him informed as information progressed.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the launches were “an act of provocation and absolutely unacceptable.” He accused North Korea of ​​promoting its weapons development program, “ignoring the suffering of people amid the spread of the coronavirus in the country.”

The launches were Pyongyang This year is the 17th round of rocket launchers. Experts say the launches demonstrate North Korea’s determination to continue upgrading its weapons arsenals despite the COVID-19 outbreak, and to put more pressure on its rivals to snatch sanctions and other concessions amid idle nuclear diplomacy.

Officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan said North Korea could soon also conduct the first nuclear test in nearly five years.

“If Omicron is raging in the country, this is not the best time for Kim to take on domestic political credit for the nuclear test,” said Leif-Eric Isley, a professor at IHHA University in Seoul. “So declaring victory over COVID, at least in state propaganda, will probably be the first. But North Korea is likely to hold its seventh nuclear test before re-entering diplomacy.”

North Korea’s unusual pace in arms tests this year included the launch of the ICBM in March, the first since 2017. North Korea described the launch as a demonstration of its largest missile, the Hwasong-17. However, the South Korean military said that instead the North could release a smaller ICBM. Be that as it may, the missile flew longer and higher than any other weapon the North has ever tested, and had the potential range to reach the entire continental United States, experts say.

Tensions in Korea
The TV screen shows a news program that reports North Korea’s missile launches with videos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, on May 25, 2022. North Korea launched three ballistic missiles into the sea on Wednesday, its neighbors said hours after President Joe Biden wrapped up a trip to Asia, reaffirming the U.S. commitment to defending its allies in the face of the North’s growing nuclear threat.

Lee Jin-man / AP

Following a summit in Seoul on Saturday, Mr Biden and Yun said they would consider expanding military exercises to deter North Korean nuclear threats.

Mr Biden dismissed questions about any possible provocation from North Korea during his trip, saying: “We are ready for anything that North Korea will do.” Asked if he had a message for North leader Kim Jong Un, Mr Biden offered a cut-off answer: “Hello. The point.

Mr Biden later met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishido in Tokyo, and they pledged to work closely together to address security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs, and what they called China’s “increasingly coercive” behavior in the region. .

By Wednesday, Pyongyang’s last missile tests were conducted on May 12, hours after the country recognized the COVID-19 outbreak and ended a widely disputed claim that there had been no coronavirus for more than two years.

The country has said in the last few days that its anti-virus campaign had a “positive sign”. Since the outbreak was recognized, North Korea has detected about 3 million cases of unidentified fever, saying only a small portion was COVID-19.

On Wednesday, state media reported for the second day in a row that there were no additional deaths from the fever. It is reported that 68 deaths will be an extremely low number for COVID-19. Experts question these figures, given that the Nordic country has limited health resources and may be underestimating mortality to prevent possible political harm to Kim.

North Korea has so far ignored offers from South Korea and the U.S. to send vaccines, drugs and other support items. Much of North Korea’s 26 million people remain unvaccinated, and the country’s once-free socialist health care system has been in disrepair for decades.

“At a time when North Koreans are suffering from the spread of COVID-19, North Korea is using its crucial resources to develop nuclear weapons and missiles instead of measures to combat the virus and improve livelihoods, which is very unfortunate,” said South. This was stated by Korean Foreign Minister Pak Jin.

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