North Korea says goodbye to Biden's Asian tour with three missiles, one intercontinental

Recent rumors of a possible North Korean range ballistic test materialized on Wednesday when Pyongyang fired three ballistic missiles, one of them intercontinental, which fell harmlessly into the sea.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
24 May 2022 Tuesday 23:47
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North Korea says goodbye to Biden's Asian tour with three missiles, one intercontinental

Recent rumors of a possible North Korean range ballistic test materialized on Wednesday when Pyongyang fired three ballistic missiles, one of them intercontinental, which fell harmlessly into the sea.

The launches came shortly after US President Joe Biden wrapped up his five-day tour of South Korea and Japan before heading home, an unsubtle way of showing his displeasure with the president's visit. by region.

According to the South Korean General Staff, the three projectiles were fired between 6 and 6:42 in the morning (local time) from the Sunan airport, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, from where the almost 20 weapons tests registered in this 2022 have been carried out.

It is believed that the first, larger, was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which reached an altitude of 550 kilometers and fell 300 kilometers into the waters of the Sea of ​​Japan (East Sea on the peninsula Korean). It is the second firing of an ICBM so far this year (the previous one was in March), with which the moratorium that Pyongyang self-imposed in 2018 on the launch of this type of projectile is considered buried.

The second missile apparently failed and fell into the sea after 20 minutes of flight, while the third, a short-range missile, traveled a distance of 750 kilometers before falling into the sea.

In response to these tests, the South Korean and US armies immediately began military exercises that included the firing of several surface-to-surface missiles. According to Seoul, its aim was to demonstrate the allies' "rapid strike capability to deter North Korea from further provocations" and show off its "overwhelming" ability to launch precision strikes.

The North Korean launch, which violates the resolutions imposed by the UN Security Council, is the largest since the new South Korean president, the conservative Yoon Suk Yeol, was inaugurated on May 10.

According to a statement from his office, the launches are "a serious provocation that threatens peace on the North Korean peninsula" and will make the South Korean-American deterrent apparatus "become even faster and more powerful."

With its action today, Pyongyang acknowledges recent reports from various intelligence services that it intended to test an ICBM during Biden's visit to the region. It is also considered likely that the country is readying its equipment for a new nuclear test, which would be the first since 2017, when tensions with the administration of then President Donald Trump reached their peak.

During the Biden-Yoon summit on Saturday, the two pledged to explore new ways to increase the volume of their joint military exercises and strengthen their deterrent capabilities on the Korean peninsula, including the possible deployment of more US strategic military assets "in a timely manner." and coordinated as necessary.

Still, they also left room for rapprochement. Both leaders offered to send vaccines and medical assistance to the northern country, which is currently experiencing an outbreak of coronavirus that has already left some 3 million possible infected among a population of 25 million inhabitants (Pyongyang still has not responded to the offer).

Biden also indicated that he is willing to meet in person with Kim Jong Un, as his predecessor did three times, although this would require preconditions that guarantee some progress. “It would depend on him being sincere and serious” in the negotiations, he added.

However, today's releases once again highlight North Korea's unwillingness to resume negotiations stalled after the failure of Kim's summit with Trump in Vietnam in 2019.

Despite its pressing economic problems, Pyongyang has embarked in recent months on the task of reinforcing its weapons arsenal. In a speech delivered during a military parade in April, the dictator reiterated to his people that they must be prepared to continue confronting the US "for a long period of time." At the meeting he also promised to expand his arsenal of nuclear warheads, ICBMs and delivery vehicles "at the highest possible speed."

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