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North Korea Prods Biden by Launching Forbidden Test of Missile Capable of Reaching US

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North Korea on Thursday launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile that officials said could be capable of reaching the United States.

The launch was the first ICBM launch since 2017 and ended a self-imposed North Korean moratorium on ICBM testing that began in response to diplomatic overtures to North Korea from former President Donald Trump. The launch also violates United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“It’s an unforgivable recklessness. We resolutely condemn the act,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, according to ABC.

The Washington Post said the missile was “capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States ” and that North Korea “appears to have tested a weapon that could threaten the U.S. mainland.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pursued stepped-up missile tests throughout this year, prompting Sung-Yoon Lee, assistant professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, to tell Nikkei Asia earlier this year that, “The U.S. will find it impossible to turn its back on Kim. Hence, NK will negotiate from a position of strength.”

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The missile rose to a height of 3,728 miles, according to The New York Times. The test missile crashed into the ocean west of Japan, according to Makoto Oniki, Japan’s deputy defense minister.

He called the missile a “new ICBM.”

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the missile could have a maximum range of about 15,000 kilometers, which comes to 9,320 miles, making it at least in theory able to reach the U.S., according to CNN.

His estimates said that the missile had a range of about 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) beyond the Hwasong-15, which was tested in 2017 and believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. North Korea unveiled the Hwasong-17 in a military parade in 2020, but had not tested it until Thursday.

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“Despite economic challenges and technical setbacks, the Kim regime is determined to advance its missile capabilities,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University, according to The Guardian.

“It would be a mistake for international policymakers to think the North Korean missile threat can be put on the back burner while the world deals with the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he said.

In response to the North Korean test, South Korea fired one Hyunmoo-2 missile and one Army Tactical Missile System. South Korean aircraft fired two JDAM bunker-buster missiles, according to the Times.

“North Korea violated its own moratorium on ICBM tests that it had promised to the international community,” the South Korean military said in a statement. “This is a serious threat to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community, as well as a clear violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

South Korea’s military said its tests proved it has the “capabilities and readiness to deliver precision strikes at the origin and command and support facilities of a North Korean missile launch.”

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A White House statement condemned the launch and called it a “brazen violation” of UN resolutions.

“This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people,” the White House said, according to the Times. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We urge all countries to hold the DPRK accountable for such violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations,” the statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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