North Korea Fires Suspected ICBM After Warning US on Exercises

(Bloomberg) — North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile Friday after warning the US a day earlier of fierce moves if it persists in conducting joint military drills with allies in the region.

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South Korea military said it believed the missile launched by North Korea was an ICBM, without providing further details. North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday shortly after its foreign minister issued the warning to the US.

North Korea Fires Missile After Warning US of ‘Fierce’ Move (2)

North Korea last launched a suspected ICBM on Nov. 3, a rocket that flew eastward and reached an altitude of 1,920 kilometers (1,200 miles) before failing, according to South Korea’s military.

Leader Kim Jong Un has ratcheted up tensions to the highest level in years by firing off a massive barrage of missiles in recent weeks that included the first one shot across a nautical border with South Korea set up after the Korean War. It has fired off more than 60 ballistic missiles this year — a record that is in defiance of United Nations resolutions barring the tests.

Kim is finding space to ramp up provocations and conduct tit-for-tat military moves against the US and its allies as the Biden administration focuses on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and China, two long-time partners of North Korea, have veto power at the UN Security Council and have shown no intent to punish Kim with extra sanctions.

North Korea has bristled for decades at joint military exercises, calling them a prelude to an invasion. The US, Japan and South Korea have all warned that Kim’s regime seems to be ready to turn tensions even higher with its first test of a nuclear bomb in about five years.

The test might be used to advance Kim’s pursuit of miniaturized nuclear warheads that he could mount on missiles to strike South Korea and Japan — the US allies that host the bulk of America’s troops in Asia.

–With assistance from Seyoon Kim.

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