Update 2: The Pentagon says initial assessment of North Korean launch "was an ICBM, traveled about 1,000 km before splashing into Sea of Japan," Reuters reports. Separately, Yonhap notes that the North Korea missile reached an altitude of 4,500 km and flew 960km.
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Update: In response to the launch, the South Korean military has staged a "precision strike" missile exercise in response, Yonhap reports citing the JCS. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has confirmed that the North Korean launch took place at 1:30pm EST, and was still assessing.
Separately, the office of the Japanese PM said the North Korean missile landed off the coast of Japan, likely inside the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Well, US experts did warn that North Korea could conduct another missile test "within days", and for once, US experts were right, because moments ago Yonhap reported citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, that after a two and a half month hiatus, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, the first such launch since September 15. The launch marks the first time North Korean has provoked the US and regional nations since US President Donald Trump labelled Pyongyang a state sponsor of terrorism.
"North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at dawn today," the S. Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
According to the report, the missile flew eastward and the South Korean military is analyzing details with the U.S. Japan's coast guard confirmed that North Korea fired a missile, which fell in the sea near Japan. The Japanese cabinet office said that the N. Korea missile landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and thus could be seen as an act of aggression.
The missile has not been identified, though the US government has confirmed the launch. According to the Pentagon, the missile came from mobile launcher.
Seoul's military has been "closely monitoring" and "tracking possible North Korean provocations" with US partners, a spokesman for the army said Tuesday.
As a reminder, yesterday Japanese officials noticed an increase in radioactivity data suggesting another missile test might be imminent. "North Korea might launch a missile within the next few days," a Japanese government official told local media.
This may be just the first of several launches: The US and South Korean militaries are slated to hold large scale military drills from December 4 through December 8. a move which will further infuriate Pyongyang. The drills will feature more than 230 allied aircraft swarming around the Korean peninsula.
North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, and has launched more than a dozen missiles this year as Kim Jong Un’s regime seeks the capability to hit the continental U.S. with a nuclear weapon. The United Nations has imposed stringent sanctions on North Korea for its weapons tests.
Trump on Nov. 20 labeled North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism because of its threats of nuclear devastation and support of terrorist acts including assassinations on foreign soil. North Korea responded by saying the designation reminds the country it should keep hold of its "precious nuclear sword." On Nov. 14, the U.S. concluded strike force drills in the Western Pacific using three aircraft carriers, the first such exercise in a decade.
North Korea has routinely complained about U.S. drills in the region, using them as justification to ratchet up its own weapons program.
China and Russia have stepped up their own efforts to deter North Korea. Russia cannot accept Pyongyang's "missile and nuclear gambit," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said November 24, since these programs violate United Nations Security Council resolutions. With China, Russia insists that Pyongyang follow through on the "implementation of other provisions of these resolutions that require the resumption of talks," Lavrov said.
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In response to the launch, USDJPY has tumbled and gold surged - relatively speaking - while stocks, as usual, completely ignore all geopolitical, and any othet, news, and continue to race with bitcoin for the title of the world's biggest ever bubble.
Speaking of the market's latest non-response, while TSYs have ticked higher along with safe havens like gold (XAU), it's been a rather muted reaction, which some trading desks attributed to missile launch being was expected, although the reality is that stocks simply no longer react to geopolitical news. This is best exemplified by the virtual non response in the USDKRW 1m NDF to the news.