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March 31, 2023
One day after being warned of “unprecedentedly” strong consequences by both the US and South Korea for testing missiles, North Korea did just that and launched a long-range ballistic missile
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed a long-range missile was fired at approximately 5.22pm on Saturday in the vicinity of Pyongyang’s international airport, where the North has carried out the majority of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
Japanese authorities confirmed the missile flew about 900km before landing in the sea off the west coast of Japan.
There were no immediate reports of ships or planes being damaged or destroyed, but Reuters reported that the missile could be one of North Korea’s largest.
Japan’s defense minister Yasukazu Hamada believes that the missile has a range potential of 14,000 km. The distance between the United States and North Korea is just over 10,000 km.
Saturday’s launch is the first time North Korea has fired a ballistic missile this year following several tests in 2022.
Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida hit out at the launch by referring to it as “an act of violence that escalates provocation toward the international order”.
Mr Kishida confirmed that Tokyo is liaising with both Washington and Seoul over the launch, according to the Associated Press.
The UN has banned North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapon development, however this has not deterred Pyongyang who have continued its weapons programs believing them to be necessary to counter “hostile policies” by the US and its allies.
South Korea joined the United States in condemning North Korea following the missile launch and said it would continue to cooperate with the US against any hostile behavior from North Korea.
South Korea and the US have also joined forces to plan field exercises, including live fire drills in the upcoming weeks and months.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: CNBC