North Korea’s Second Missile Test in a Week Sparks Tension Between Tokyo and Seoul
North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday, just hours before the leaders of South Korea and Japan meet in Tokyo.
Pyongyang aimed the long-range missile — its second weapons test this week — toward the East Sea, as the Sea of Japan is known.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an update that the missile was launched near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in the morning and had a diameter of about 1,000 kilometers before it hit the sea, describing the missile as capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
The launch comes after Pyongyang confirmed that it fired two “surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missiles” on Tuesday, targeting an island in the Sea of Japan off the country’s east coast.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles of any range, which – depending on their design – could also be fitted with a nuclear warhead. Pyongyang has increased the number of missile tests since last year.
Missiles capable of traveling more than 5,500 kilometers are counted as ICBMs.
The launches came after South Korea and the United States began a large joint exercise dubbed “Freedom Shield” earlier this week.
Pyongyang has recently threatened to take countermeasures if the United States and South Korea conduct more military exercises. This means a new series of missile tests or a new nuclear test by regional observers.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased dramatically again since last year, with North Korea increasingly testing nuclear-capable missiles.
On Sunday, North Korea fired two missiles from a submarine into the East Sea. It is said that this test also served as a nuclear deterrent.
Just hours after the test, South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul landed in Tokyo to meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
According to Yonhap, North Korea’s missile tests are expected to be high on the agenda.
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