North fires possible ICBM a day after threatening ‘fiercer’ response
North Korea launched a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday morning, a day after it fired a shorter-range missile and warned of “fiercer military responses” to increasing security cooperation between the United States and its allies in the region.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said North Korea fired what appeared to be an ICBM in an “eastward” direction, and said it believed the missile to be an ICBM. The JCS has yet to release details about the suspected ICBM, such as its flight distance, altitude and speed.
Only a day earlier, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) into the East Sea, just hours after its foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, warned of “fiercer military responses” to U.S. efforts to enhance its military presence in the region.
Choe singled out in particular the “provision of expanded deterrence” by the United States, by which Washington has pledged to defend Seoul or Tokyo with nuclear weapons should they come under a nuclear attack.
“The more committed the United States is to ‘strengthening the provision of expanded deterrence,’ the more it bluffs and conducts provocative military activities on the Korean Peninsula and the region, the fiercer our military response will be,” Choe said.
North Korea has launched more than 50 missiles in the last two months in response to joint U.S.-South Korean drills and South Korean unilateral exercises.
The last ICBM launch was on Nov. 3.
South Korea’s National Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting later on Friday to discuss the suspected ICBM launch, according to the South Korean presidential office.
BY MICHAEL LEE, KIM JEE-HEE [email@example.com]