North Korea has just fired what is thought to be an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (otherwise known as IRBM) which fell into the waters close to Japan. Crucially, this was one of the most powerful missiles in some time and also the busiest after Pyongyang had successful hypersonic tests previously this month.
Both Japanese and South Korean governments said the IRBM launch this Sunday. They said the missile got to a height of around 1,243 miles and went 500 miles for around 30 minutes before then landing in waters near Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
“If the missile were launched at a normal apogee, its range would be as much as 3,500 km to 5,500 km, making it an IRBM and the country’s longest test since 2017,” Joseph Dempsey, research associate for military and defense analysis at the Institute for Strategic Studies said to CNN.
Sunday’s launch was North Korea’s sixth this year and seventh total, already surpassing the firing totals of last year.
The series of launches came as Kim Jong Un promised to strengthen his military further. Sunday’s test is a huge wake-up call for the Biden White House because South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated that North Korea might abandon the moratorium on ICBMs — meaning these long-range missiles might possibly hit the United States mainland.
Soo Kim, an analyst who previously worked at the CIA, told Bloomberg, “Kim has not had to pay the price yet, and he knows that especially now – with the pandemic, the Ukraine situation, continuing U.S.-China tensions and the South Korean presidential campaign – the time is good for provocations.”
“Kim’s made it very clear that it will take something more than sanctions to make him stop,” the analyst said.
It was reported just last month that the United States, China, South Korea, North Korea, “have agreed ‘in principle’ to declare an end to the Korean War. But they have yet to meet on the issue due to Pyongyang’s demands.” The matter was still stalled and does not look to go forward anytime soon.
Notably, the new test marks the rogue nation’s atomic ambitions. Now the world awaits a response from the Joe Biden administration.