South Korea and the United States launched 4 surface-to-ground missiles into the Sea of Japan (Sea of the East) in response to yesterday’s provocation from North Korea. This was announced by the Seoul armed forces, according to reports from Yonhap. The South Korean and US militaries launched two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles each, which accurately hit fictional targets and demonstrated the allies’ ability to deter further provocation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
North Korea yesterday tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile (Irbm), capable of flying over Japan, for the first time in eight months, according to the findings of the Seoul military. The South Korean Joint Staff Command reported having detected the launch from Mupyong-ri, in the northern province of Jagang, carried out at 7.23 local time (00.23 in Italy): the missile flew for about 4,500 kilometers, confirming the overcoming of Japan and hitting an apogee of about 970 km at the considerable maximum speed of Mach 17. The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are conducting a detailed analysis to verify the specifications of the missile which, on a first analysis, refers to a Hwasong 12 which in January flew about 800 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 2,000 km.
“North Korea’s series of ballistic missile provocations will further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the South Korea-US alliance and will only deepen the North’s isolation from the international community,” the Command said in a note, condemning the launch as “a significant act of provocation” that undermines peace and stability not only on the Korean peninsula but also in the international community, representing a “clear” violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Japan, for its part, said the missile “probably” flew over the country, warning residents to move to shelters. “North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please evacuate into buildings or underground,” the Japanese government said in an alert issued at 7:29 am local time (12:29 am in Italy). National broadcaster NHK said the alarm was in effect for two northern regions of the country. Around 8 am local time (1 am in Italy) the Japanese prime minister’s office then tweeted that “a bullet that appears to be a North Korean ballistic missile probably flew over Japan”. In a statement, the Japanese coast guard said the missile appears to have already fallen overboard and warned ships not to approach any falling objects.
The US Command for Asia and the Pacific condemned the launch of the missile, stating that “Washington’s commitment to the defense of Japan and Korea remains unshakable”. “The United States condemns these actions and calls on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from any further illegal and destabilizing act”, the command stated in a statement. The White House also reported that National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan spoke separately with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts to devise an “adequate and robust international response” and reaffirm the “iron commitment” of the United States in defending Japan. and South Korea. Spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
Also yesterday, a few hours after North Korea launched the missile, South Korea and the US launched a specific exercise dedicated to “precision bombing”. A South Korean F-15K jet dropped two Joint Direct Attack Munition (Jadam) precision bombs on a firing range located on the uninhabited island of Jikdo in the Yellow Sea. The operation, according to the South Korean Command, occurred as a result of joint maneuvers with US warplanes in attack programs that mobilized four American F-15Ks and four American F-16s. “Through combined flight and precision attack drills, South Korea and the United States have shown a willingness to respond harshly to any threat from the North, as well as their ability to conduct a precision attack at the origin of the provocations based on their solid alliance “, explained a note from the Seoul Command.
For its part, EU Council President Charles Michel condemned the launch of the North Korean missile, which he called “an unjustifiable aggression”: “We strongly condemn North Korea’s deliberate attempt to jeopardize security in the region by launching a ballistic missile over Japan. Unjustifiable aggression, in blatant violation of international law,” Michel wrote on Twitter. Subsequently, the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and South Korea also strongly condemned the launch of the missile. by North Korea. This was reported by the South Korean agency Yonhap, referring to telephone contacts between the American Antony Blinken, the Japanese Yoshimasa Hayashi and the South Korean Park Jin. Park and Blinken – according to Seoul – shared the view that the launch is a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, a “serious provocation” and a serious threat to peace and stability.
North Korea’s launch of its first ballistic missile over Japan’s airspace in over five years would also herald the arrival of further weapons tests, including the dreaded seventh nuclear detonation.. The initiative of the North, when its official media has not given news of the leader Kim Jong-un for over three weeks, has matured with the military exercises conducted by the US, South Korea and Japan, and after the visit of American Vice President Kamala Harris in Tokyo and Seoul, suggesting that the move by the hermit state may have the purpose of political reaction.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank, has just released a report on the high-resolution satellite images of Airbus Neo collected between 19 and 29 September last on the Punggye-ri site which it has so far hosted the atomic detonations.
While all preparations seem to have been completed at tunnel 3 (for the USA and South Korea everything is ready for testing), CSIS analysts have surprisingly detected new work in progress at tunnel 4, amidst clearing signals in front of the entrance and construction of the access road. The business could be part of an expansion of North Korea’s nuclear test capabilities beyond tunnel 3, or it could be part of a “strategic deception plan”, of misdirection. There is only one certainty at present: the timing of the seventh nuclear test remains solely and exclusively in the hands of Kim Jong-un, according to analysts. To him, the decision whether to proceed or not.