North Korea fires three missiles as Biden ends Asia visit | Weapons News

South Korea, Japan condemn ‘provocations’ after North Korea fires three missiles, including a suspected ICBM, off its east coast.

Seoul, South Korea – North Korea has test fired three missiles off its east coast, including a suspected Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), according to South Korea and Japan.

The tests on Wednesday came hours after Joe Biden, the president of the United States, left the region after a five-day tour during which he pledged to work with his allies to address Pyongyang’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the first missile was launched at 6am local time (21:00 GMT) on Wednesday, with a second launch 37 minutes later and the third five minutes after that.

South Korea’s new-elected President Yoon Suk-Yeol, who immediately convened a meeting of the National Security Council, condemned the North’s weapons tests as “serious provocation threatening international peace”.

He also ordered the “implementation of practical measures for the activation of extended deterrence and strengthening of the South Korea- US combined defence posture, as agreed upon by leaders of South Korea and the United States,” a statement from his office said.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi also condemned the weapons launches as “clear provocations” and said Tokyo will not tolerate Pyongyang’s attempts to advance its missile-related technology.

Kishi said the first missile flew about 300 kilometers (186 miles) with a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometers(340 miles), while the second flew about 750 kilometers (470 miles) at a lower altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles).

North Korea has carried out a record number of missile launches this year, including a test of its biggest intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.

The US had warned that Pyongyang was poised for more weapons tests as Biden headed to South Korea and Japan, his first visit to the region as president.

Biden left Japan on Tuesday night but had been briefed on the latest launches, the Reuters news agency said.

The US military command in the region said it was aware of “multiple” ballistic missile launches from North Korea and was assessing the situation.

“The missile launches highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” it said in a statement, referring to North Korea by its official name.

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