North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to Japan’s government.
It was launched on Saturday, flew for 66 minutes, and landed in the Sea of Japan, according to the defense ministry.
It comes after Pyongyang displayed its massive military might in a parade that included more than a dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korea threatened on Friday to launch “unprecedentedly strong” retaliation against any military exercises between South Korea and the US.
The annual springtime exercises, which are set to begin next month, are intended to help deter North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. However, Pyongyang has long claimed that they are preparing to invade North Korea.
The missile, the first launched since New Year’s Day, landed west of Hokkaido in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at 18:27 (09:27 GMT), according to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. An EEZ is a portion of the sea over which a country has jurisdiction. Japan’s is a 200-nautical-mile zone off the country’s coast.
It traveled approximately 900 kilometers (560 miles) and reached an altitude of 5,700 kilometers, according to government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno in Tokyo. While that is extremely high (the edge of space is about 100 kilometers), it is not the highest altitude attained by a North Korean missile.
An ICBM reached a height of 6,100 km in November. Previously, in January 2022, North Korea released extraordinary photos of Earth that it claimed were taken from a 2,000km missile launch.
Because of their long range, including the continental United States, ICBMs are particularly concerning.
Japan’s Defense Minister, Hamada Yasukazu, said Saturday’s missile, with a possible range of 14,000 kilometers, would have been capable of doing so.
“North Korea’s series of actions endangers Japan’s and the international community’s peace and stability, and are completely unforgivable,” Mr Matsuno said.