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North Korea fires long-range missile forward of South Korean President’s journey to Japan

Seoul CNN  — 

North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile early Thursday, the identical day leaders from the 2 US allies had been on account of meet in Tokyo for the primary such summit in 12 years.

The missile was fired into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula early Thursday morning native time, in accordance with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Employees and Japan’s Protection Ministry.

North Korea later introduced that it had launched an Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) beneath chief Kim Jong Un’s steering, state media KCNA reported Friday, including that the missile reached a most altitude of 6,045km, had a flight vary of 1,000.2km, and flew for over an hour.

North Korea final examined a long-range missile on February 18, and Thursday’s is the fourth intercontinental ballistic missile launch in lower than one 12 months.

Photos launched by North Korea on Friday appeared to indicate Kim overseeing the newest missile launch on a wall of TV screens accompanied by an unnamed younger woman, believed to be his daughter Kim Ju Ae.

The launch adopted a flurry of exams this week – on Sunday, North Korea fired two cruise missiles from a submarine and the following day launched two short-range ballistic missiles from South Hwanghae Province.

The exams coincide with springtime joint navy workouts between the US and South Korea – the most important warfare video games the 2 allies have staged in 5 years. Forward of the 11-day Freedom Protect workouts, North Korea had threatened to take the “hardest counteraction in opposition to essentially the most vicious plots of the US and its followers.”

The timing additionally coincides with the upcoming arrival of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Japan for a summit his workplace has hailed as “an vital milestone” within the growth of bilateral relations.

The 2 East Asian neighbors have an extended historical past of acrimony, courting again to Japan’s colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula a century in the past.

The 2 international locations normalized relations in 1965, however unresolved historic disputes have continued to fester and hostility lingered.

Extra not too long ago, their fraught relations have undermined efforts by the US to current a united entrance in opposition to North Korea – and the rising assertiveness of China.

Earlier than departing for Tokyo, Yoon advised worldwide media on Wednesday “there may be an rising want for Korea and Japan to cooperate on this time of a polycrisis,” citing escalating North Korean nuclear and missile threats and the disruption of worldwide provide chains.

“We can’t afford to waste time whereas leaving strained Korea-Japan relations unattended,” Yoon mentioned.

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