North Korea Fires Suspected Long-Range ICBM Ahead Of South, US Planned Drills
North Korea launched a suspected long-range intercontinental ballistic missile late Saturday afternoon that appears to have crashed in the Sea of Japan near Hokkaido, which is within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Japan's Defense Ministry said the missile reached an altitude of about 5,700 kilometers (3,540 miles) and flew a distance of about 900 kilometers (559 miles), while South Korean JCS said it was launched around 1722 local time from Pyongyang's Sunan area.
This is what the trajectory of the #NorthKorea #Missile launched just now would have looked like, according to currently available information. Launch from Sunan, apogee 5700 km, 900 km distance, direction Hokkaido. Nice timing for @MunSecConf https://t.co/6ttyv1ER2o pic.twitter.com/OPnhjII6qP— Markus Schiller (@RocketSchiller) February 18, 2023
Saturday's launch comes one day after North Korea threatened an "unprecedentedly persistent, strong" response as South Korea and the US prepare for annual military exercises next week.
"If it is the US option to show its muscle and counter everything with muscle, the same is true of the DPRK's option," the North's foreign ministry said in a statement published by state media KCNA.
The launch takes place one month after North Korea held a rare nighttime parade featuring what many observers believe to be a new solid-fuel ICBM.
The North's last test of an ICBM was in November. It has since fired several short-range ballistic missiles. Last year was a record year for launches.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said after November's launch that if missile trajectories were fired at a flatter trajectory, they would be able to reach the US mainland.