North Korea conducted a suspected solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, with its second missile provocation within less than 10 hours. The launch occurred from the Pyongyang area at 8:24 a.m. KST, with the missile flying approximately 1,000 km before descending into the East Sea.
South Korea’s military confirmed the launch of a suspected long-range ballistic missile, characterizing it as a resumption of North Korea’s weapons testing activities.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported the launch, detected at a lofted angle, and emphasized that an extensive analysis is underway to assess the details of the incident. North Korea earlier expressed displeasure and issued threats in response to joint efforts by Seoul and Washington aimed at deterring the nuclear threats posed by the reclusive nation.
The missile, launched from the capital region of Pyongyang on Monday morning, prompted South Korea to maintain readiness while sharing information about the launch with the United States and Japan.
The escalation in North Korea’s missile testing, including a possible intercontinental ballistic missile, raises concerns about the increasing reliability of its illicit weapons program. The Japanese Defense Ministry’s preliminary assessment suggested that the launched missile had the potential to reach anywhere in the United States, heightening tensions and posing a threat to international peace.
The recent missile launch by North Korea is believed to be the Hwasong-18, a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to assessments by the presidential National Security Council (NSC) and experts. The Hwasong-18 is presumed to have the capability to carry multiple warheads, potentially nuclear, and reach any target on the U.S. mainland.
With a travel distance of over 15,000 km (9,300 miles), the Hwasong-18 had previously undergone successful tests in April and July. Solid-fuel ICBMs are recognized for their transportability and quicker firing capabilities compared to their liquid-fuel counterparts, adding to the concerns surrounding North Korea’s expanding missile capabilities.
Japan’s Defense Ministry also reported detecting the ballistic missile launch, anticipating its landing outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida assured that there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.
Following the suspected solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea, analysts anticipate the regime to commence the deployment of the Hwasong-18.
President Yoon Suk Yeol, at an emergency National Security Council meeting, condemned the provocation, deeming it a grave threat to global peace and a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. He called for an “overwhelming” response in collaboration with the U.S., urging swift resolution of issues discussed at the Nuclear Consultative Group.
In response to the North’s provocation, South Korea announced plans to resume front-line aerial surveillance. North Korea swiftly retaliated by reinstating border guard posts, actions that violate the 2018 inter-Korean agreement aimed at easing front-line military tensions.