North Korea tests missile capable of striking US — RT World News


The long-range missile test comes after Pyongyang said US-South Korean drills were a “preview of a nuclear war”

North Korea has test-fired a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that is capable of striking any target in the mainland United States, Japanese defense officials said. It is Pyongyang’s latest missile launch to have drawn international condemnation as tensions flare on the Korean Peninsula.

The missile, launched on Monday at 8:24am local time (11:24pm Sunday GMT), traveled for 73 minutes and covered about 1,000km (621 miles), Tokyo’s defense ministry said. It reached a maximum altitude of more than 6,000km (3,730 miles) and fell into waters west of Hokkaido island, outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Japan’s parliamentary vice-minister of defense, Shingo Miyake, said the missile had a potential range of 15,000km (9,300 miles), “in which case the whole of the US territory would be within range.”

It was the second suspected launch by North Korea in a matter of hours and comes after Pyongyang vowed to take “more offensive countermeasures” in response to a meeting between US and South Korean defense officials last week. At the meeting in Washington on Friday, both nations agreed to war-game the use of nuclear weapons in drills expected to take place next summer.

The arrival of a US nuclear-powered submarine in South Korea on Sunday – which comes amid expanded military drills and collaboration between the allies – was rebuked by the North as a “preview of a nuclear war” which it said was being conducted by “hostile forces.”

Both countries’ “attempt to use armed forces against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea) will face a preemptive and deadly counteraction,” a statement from Pyongyang said, according to the KCNA news agency.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday’s test, as well as that of a shorter-range missile hours beforehand, were “not only a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions but also a threat to peace and stability of the region and we strongly condemn them.”

A spokesperson for the US State Department underscored Japan’s response, saying: “These launches, like the other ballistic missile launches Pyongyang has conducted this year, are in violation of multiple United Nations security council resolutions.”

Tensions have flared on the Korean Peninsula after Pyongyang’s successful launch of a spy satellite last month. Seoul responded by suspending elements of an agreement with the North intended to curb military activity close to the border. In turn, North Korea withdrew from the military accord entirely and has rearmed border guard posts close to the Demilitarized Zone.

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