North Korea fires suspected ICBM

(Update 1: changes headline, lede, updates and rewrites throughout)

Seoul, Mar 24 (EFE).- North Korea on Thursday fired what South Korea and Japan suspect was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the Sea of Japan, in what would be the first test of its kind since November 2017.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said that North Korea fired an apparent long-range ballistic missile launched at a “lofted” angle, according to Yonhap news agency.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense said the projectile appears to have been an ICBM and was launched at a lofted trajectory, according to national broadcaster NHK.

The ministry said the projectile fell into waters within its special economic zone, 170 kilometers off the coast of northern Aomori prefecture, and warned boaters to exercise extreme caution. Part of the projectile earlier fell outside its EEZ, it said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, presidential spokeswoman Park Kyung-mi said.

If an ICBM is confirmed, the test would mark the end of the self-imposed moratorium that the regime imposed on ICBM launches ahead of the first summit held in 2018 between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-US president Donald Trump.

In January, the regime hinted at ending the moratorium.

At the 2021 sole party congress, the regime outlined a five-year plan for weapons modernization that is behind the current string of tests, which number a record 12 so far this year.

In turn, it has rejected US invitations for dialogue at a time when the country, which remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly not yet vaccinated a single one of its citizens, making holding high-level diplomatic face-to-face meetings very unlikely. EFE


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