SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) — The launch of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), believed to be a Hwasong-17, apparently ended in failure Thursday, According to a South Korean defense source, while the regime of the North Korean State Affairs Committee chairman, Kim Jong-un, has intensified its threats, especially due to large-scale joint air exercises between Seoul and Washington.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the ICBM was launched from Pyongyang’s Sunan area at around 7:40 am and flew about 760 kilometers to a maximum height of about 1,920 kilometers with a top speed of Mach 15.
However, after the second stage of separation, it appears that the missile failed to fly normally, the source later said, in the background, adding that it appears to be a Hwasong-17 missile.
It is the seventh launch of an ICBM by North Korea so far this year and the first since late May.
The JCS also said it detected the firing of two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from Kaechon in South Pyongan province starting at approximately 8:39 am.
They flew about 330 kilometers at a maximum height of about 70 kilometers, with maximum speeds of Mach 5.
North Korea is seen to have tried again to flex its military might in protest against the massive five-day air drill that Seoul and Washington launched on Monday.
However, continued major provocations from Pyongyang have caused the allies to extend the Vigilant Storm exercise.
The South Korean Air Force made an announcement about the decision hours after the launch of the North Korean ICBM, without immediately disclosing the new end date of the exercise. He noted that the allies are holding consultations on the details.
Meanwhile, General Kim Seung-kyum, head of the South Korean JCS, and General Paul LaCamera, head of the US Armed Forces in South Korea, held virtual consultations and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the combined defense posture. of allies against any North Korean threat or provocation.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that Washington condemns these actions and urges North Korea to refrain from further illegal and destabilizing acts. He added that US commitments to the defense of Seoul and Tokyo remain “uncompromising.”
The provocations came a day after the North launched more than 20 missiles, the largest single-day barrage of launches to date. One of them flew south over the de facto inter-Korean maritime border for the first time since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Seoul and Washington have mobilized more than 240 aircraft, including stealth fighters, for the Vigilant Storm exercise over South Korea.
Pyongyang has long denounced the joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington as a rehearsal for invasion. The two allies stress that the exercises are defensive in nature.
Pak Jong-chon, secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of North Korea (WPK), warned on Wednesday that Seoul and Washington will pay “the most terrible price in history” if they decide to attack the North.
North Korea’s foreign ministry also threatened the United States on Tuesday to take “more powerful follow-up action” against what it called “relentless and reckless” military provocations by Washington.