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North Korea confirms it fired its first medium-range missile in nearly five years into the Sea of ​​Japan

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US says launch is ‘clear violation’ of multiple UN Security Council resolutions

MADRID, 31 (EUROPE PRESS)

North Korean authorities confirmed this Sunday that they had fired their first medium-range ballistic missile in almost five years into the Sea of ​​Japan to “verify” its accuracy, it is the latest in one of the longest series of ballistic tests in recent times and conceived, in the opinion of the experts, as a wake-up call to the international community, beginning with the United States, to reactivate the paralyzed talks on its nuclear program.

“It was aimed at selectively verifying the ‘Hwasong-12’ medium- and long-range ground-to-ground ballistic missile in production for equipment and verifying the accuracy of the weapon system in general,” the Korean authorities have published in a report collected by the website specialized in North Korea NK News.

The Army launched the missile in “the highest angle firing system from the northwest area to the East Sea — as the Sea of ​​Japan is known in Korea — in consideration of the safety of neighboring countries,” added the statement.

Likewise, North Korea has “opened to the public the data of images taken from space with a camera in the warhead of the missile” to “confirm the precision, safety and operational effectiveness of the ‘Hwasong-12’, the text wields.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, it was launched from a silo in Mupyong Ri, in Jagang province (north), at 7:52 a.m. (local time), reached an altitude of 2,000 meters and traveled 800 kilometers. before impacting just at the entrance to the waters that make up the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Sea of ​​Japan.

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South Korean military sources have indicated to the South Korean news agency Yonhap that the missile reached a maximum speed of Mach 16 (sixteen times the speed of sound), in what is its seventh show of force so far this year; more releases than in all of 2021.

Experts consulted by Yonhap have pointed out that the test could be part of a long-term effort to finally deploy a longer-range ballistic missile capable of attacking the US territory of Guam, but it was also a highly political message in response to Washington, that for some time this part has increased the pressure of sanctions on North Korea, in the midst of a stalemate in the nuclear talks between the two countries.

INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS

The United States has condemned the launch as a “clear violation” of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

The permanent representative of the United States to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has denounced that the launch was “provocative”, and that the United States is “absolutely open to a diplomatic commitment without preconditions”.

“I will engage with our allies the Koreans, as well as the Japanese, who are also threatened by this to look at other response options,” Thomas-Greenfield added. “Our goal is to put an end to the threatening actions that Korea is carrying out against its neighbors,” he concluded.

For his part, the Japanese Defense Minister, Nobuo Kishi, has stated that “it is clear that the objective (of North Korea) is to unilaterally increase the level of provocations against the international community”, according to the Japanese agency of Kiodo news.

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Likewise, Kishi has ruled on the last launch of a ‘Hwansong-12’ in September 2017 since Pyongyang said then that it had obtained capabilities for its use and has assessed that Sunday’s test “suggests that it is more in a practical phase and production”.

It must be remembered that in 2017 North Korea already tested the projectile and in 2018 was the year in which it imposed a moratorium on the launch of missiles of this type to facilitate nuclear talks with the previous US administration, led by Donald Trump, and that they finally ended up derailing.

As on previous occasions, South Korean President Moon Jae In condemned the launch as a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions against North Korean ballistic launches, as the Indo-Pacific Command of the United States Army also recalled, who has described the test as a new act of “destabilization”.

Before Sunday’s launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had threatened to end the aforementioned moratorium on launching these missiles, and resumed plutonium production operations at its main Yongbyon nuclear site, by time that has given order to expand a uranium enrichment plant.

Now, the international community is awaiting February 16, the 80th anniversary of the birth of the late North Korean leader and father of the current president, Kim Jong Il, which the North Korean authorities could take advantage of to exhibit new weapons. Indeed, satellite images collected by South Korea show hints of preparations for a grand military parade, an event North Korea has often used to reveal its military advances to the world.

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