More than half of children have been displaced (UNICEF)

North Korea on Thursday fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) against Japan’s maritime economic zone, which broke a self-imposed moratorium since 2017 with the risk of triggering a dramatic rise in tensions in the region.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed in a statement that the projectile fired Thursday afternoon by Pyongyang against the Sea of ​​Japan was an ICBM. This is “a pause from the suspension of intercontinental ballistic missile launches promised by President Kim Jong Un to the international community,” he lamented.

“It poses a serious threat to the Korean Peninsula, to the region and to the international community,” he added.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has condemned “an outrageous act that cannot be forgiven”.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea, which has been hit by heavy international sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs, from testing ballistic missiles.

This has not prevented Pyongyang from conducting a dozen tests of this type of weapon since the beginning of the year. But it was not until now intercontinental missiles, although Washington and Seoul suspect the North Korean regime of having tested certain ICBM systems during these launches.

“Our analyzes suggest that the ballistic missile flew for 71 minutes and landed around 15:44 (07:44 Swiss) in the exclusive economic zone, in the Sea of ​​Japan, about 150 km west of the Oshima Peninsula” in the northern island of Hokkaido, said number two in the Japanese Ministry of Defense, Makoto Oniki.

“As the ballistic missile this time flew at an altitude of more than 6,000 km, which was much higher than the ICBM Hwasong-15 (missile) launched in November 2017, it is believed that” today is a new ICBM. ” he added.

He said Japan’s Defense Ministry had not received any reports of damage to ships or planes, but called the launch a “serious threat” to Japan’s security.

“At a time when the world is facing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea continues its firing, which unilaterally escalates provocations against the international community, which is absolutely unforgivable,” Oniki said.

failed last week

According to Seoul, a missile test from North Korea on March 16 ended in failure, with the projectile exploding in the sky over Pyongyang shortly after being fired from Sunan Airport, north of China’s capital. The regime kept completely silent about this event.

“Pyongyang tried to launch an ICBM at Sunan airport last week, but was unsuccessful,” Go Myong-hyun, a researcher at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies, told AFP. “So he led today’s launch to compensate for this failure, and because he needs to master ICBM technologies as quickly as possible.”

The essay comes as South Korea is in a period of presidential transition, with outgoing head of state Moon Jae-in handing over his chair in May to conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, elected earlier this month, who has vowed to adopt a tougher line on provocations from the north.

Many analysts expected that Pyongyang, which will celebrate the 110th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder and grandfather of Kim Jong Un, on April 15, would hold a demonstration of power to mark this celebration, the most important of the North Korean political calendar. .

Kim Jong Un said last year that improving the country’s military capabilities was a priority for the regime. Priority among priorities: to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying several conventional or nuclear warheads, each following an independent trajectory, difficult to intercept by US anti-missile systems.

This missile, Hwasong-17, has been dubbed the “monster missile” by military analysts. It was shown during a parade in Pyongyang in October 2020. It is not known at this time whether it was this missile that was tested on Thursday.

The United States and South Korea have already accused the North Korean regime of recently testing parts of it since the beginning of 2022 under the guise of what was presented as a satellite launch test.

This article has been published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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