South Korea says North Korea has tested a suspected ICBM and two more missiles

South Korea said the alleged ICBM was launched around 6 a.m. local time Wednesday with a range of about 360 kilometers (223 miles) and an altitude of about 540 kilometers (335 miles).

At approximately 6:37 a.m., North Korea launched a second ballistic missile, believed to be not an ICBM, that appeared to have disappeared from South Korea’s sight at an altitude of 20 kilometers (12 miles), South Korea said.

The third missile, believed to be a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), flew about 760 kilometers (472 miles) and had an altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles), the South Korean JCS added.

Intelligence agencies in South Korea and the United States are analyzing the tests for more information, according to JCS.

Missile expert Geoffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. James Martin, said Wednesday’s test is unlikely for a full-fledged ICBM because the range of this type of missile is much shorter.

Lewis said Wednesday’s tests are similar to past tests the US says are related to the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Pentagon said in March that two North Korean ballistic missile tests conducted on February 26 and March 4 were not intended to demonstrate the range or capabilities of ICBMs, but “probably were intended to evaluate this new system before conducting full-range tests in the future.” , potentially disguised as a spacecraft.”

Japan also reported at least two missiles fired from North Korea, with one flying on an “incorrect trajectory” at a distance of about 750 kilometers (466 miles), Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said.

Kishi said the rocket landed near Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In response to North Korea’s latest test, South Korea and the United States each fired one missile into the sea off the Korean Peninsula, JCS said. A US military statement confirmed these launches.

“This demonstrated that our armed forces have the ability and willingness to accurately strike at the source of provocation with our overwhelming force,” the JCS added.

The South Korean Air Force also held an “elephant ride” on Wednesday, taxiing about 30 armed F-15K fighter jets down the runway in a show of force, JCS reported.

Last week, a US official warned that North Korea appeared to be preparing to test an ICBM during Biden’s trip, after satellite images showed activity at a launch site near the capital Pyongyang.
Biden met with new South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol over the weekend, where the two leaders said they would start exploring expanding joint military exercises between their countries.

Asked if he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Biden said it “depends on whether he is sincere and serious.”

To date, Biden’s strategy has yet to result in a working meeting with North Korea in a year after the administration completed its U.S. policy review on the hermit kingdom, a senior administration official said, adding that “it wasn’t due to a lack of trying.” ”

Meanwhile, Yoon said that South Korea and its allies are ready for any provocative actions by North Korea.

Last month, Kim pledged to “strengthen and develop” his nuclear forces at the “fastest possible” pace.

The latest launches mark North Korea’s 16th test of its missiles this year, including what the US says was a failed ICBM test on May 4 that exploded shortly after launch.

But North Korea is believed to have tested an ICBM in late March.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the missile climbed to an altitude of 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) and a distance of 1,080 kilometers (671 miles) with a flight time of 71 minutes before splashing down in the waters off Japan’s west coast.

The US military and intelligence agencies believe that Pyongyang may also be preparing for its first underground nuclear test in nearly five years.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Jake Kwon, Brad Landon, Oren Liebermann, Kevin Liptak, Jesse Jung and Paula Hancox contributed to the story.

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