North Korea claims that its surprise drill included an ICBM test.

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test was conducted by North Korea on Saturday, the country claiming it was its third known test of the long-range weapon in less than a year.

According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, a Hwasong-15 ICBM was launched during a “surprise ICBM launching drill” on the leader Kim Jong Un’s express written commands.

According to the KCNA report, the missile traveled 989 kilometers (614 miles) in roughly 67 minutes to reach a height of 5,768.5 kilometers (3,584 miles).

The test, according to the statement, was “clear confirmation of the sure reliability of our formidable physical nuclear deterrence” and demonstrated Pyongyang’s capacity to launch a “fatal nuclear reprisal on the hostile forces.”

North Korea threatened “unprecedented forceful responses” if the United States and South Korea proceed with their scheduled military drills on Friday, which is why they conducted their test on Saturday.

The top official in her brother’s regime and leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, also issued another warning on Sunday.

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In a statement made public by KCNA, she declared, “We will watch every step of the enemy and take equivalent and very forceful and overwhelming counteraction against every every hostile move against us.”

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The missile fired on Saturday, according to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, fell in Japan’s exclusive economic zone west of the main island of Hokkaido, drawing criticism from the US.

The ICBM test was the third in a year by North Korea.

Last March, North Korea launched a missile with a slightly longer flight path and duration. It had not tested a missile like that since 2017.

Pyongyang declared the “test firing of a new kind” ICBM, which it termed the Hwasong-17, in November after another launch of a similar nature.

On February 8, 2023, Kim Jong Un and his daughter attended a military parade honoring the founding anniversary of the North Korean army, during which the country’s most recent weapons were on display.
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Yasukazu Hamada, the defense minister of Japan, warned at the time that it may possibly reach the US mainland. According to calculations based on the flight distance of this ICBM, the ballistic missile of this class that was launched this time could have a range of over 15,000 kilometers, according to a statement from Hamada. The US mainland would be included in the range, depending on the weight of the warhead.

North Korea launches its missiles in high-altitude tests. The US mainland might theoretically be reached if they were launched with a flatter trajectory.

According to a statement from White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson, the US administration called Saturday’s missile launch “a flagrant violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions.”

Although [the US Indo-Pacific Command] determined there was no immediate threat to American personnel, territories, or allies, Watson stated that the launch “needlessly elevates tensions and runs the risk of undermining the security posture in the region.” It only shows that the DPRK continues to put its illegitimate ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs ahead of the welfare of its populace.

Watson stated that the US is pushing other nations to “condemn these violations and call on the DPRK to cease its destabilizing actions and engage in genuine engagement” in response to the infractions.

On March 28, 2018, the North Korean flag is flown over the North Korean embassy in Beijing. Getty Images/AFP/GREG BAKER )
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The largest demonstration of North Korea’s “nuclear strike capability” to date took place earlier this month when the Kim Jong Un dictatorship displayed nearly 11 upgraded ICBMs during a midnight military parade in Pyongyang.

Those missiles seemed to be Hwasong-17s, according to analysts.

Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, claimed on social media that the number of missiles in the parade, if each one were to carry multiple nuclear warheads, could be sufficient to overwhelm US ballistic missile defenses.

On Friday, November 18, 2022, four US Air Force F-16 fighter jets and four South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jets participated in a cooperative air exercise over South Korea. This image was supplied by the South Korean Defense Ministry.
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The North Korean Foreign Ministry attacked the United States and South Korea on Friday over their plans for impending military drills, which led to Saturday’s test.

The South Korean Defense Ministry announced Friday that nuclear tabletop simulations between Washington and Seoul are scheduled to take place at the Pentagon the following week. Next month, military exercises involving the partners are also anticipated on the Korean Peninsula.

The same statement from North Korea also included a threat to take greater military action if the UN Security Council kept applying pressure to Pyongyang “as the United States intends.”

According to the nation’s state media, KCNA, in January, Kim Jong Un demanded “an exponential increase of the country’s nuclear arsenal” and emphasized the “necessity of mass-producing tactical nuclear weapons.”

According to the KCNA story, Kim had urged for the creation of a new “Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system” that was capable of a quick nuclear strike.

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