While the Western leaders were holding a NATO summit in Brussels, North Korea was testing its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), believed to be the country’s first long-range weapons test since 2017, as reported by Japanese and South Korean officials. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned North Korea’s ICBM testing.
Japan’s Defense Ministry was responsible for tracking North Korea’s ICBM, and according to the Japanese officials, the missile flew to an altitude of 3,700 miles and a distance of nearly 670 miles before landing in Japanese waters.
The test is reportedly North Korea’s first long-range weapon test since its leader, Kim Jong Un, suspended nuclear and ICBM testing during political negotiations with the Trump administration.
North Korea has conducted 11 missile tests this year alone, including the one conducted on Thursday. Prior to this, North Korea conducted a test on March 16 in which the missile blew up in mid-air, soon after launch.
According to The Hill, a white house official stated that on Thursday, President Joe Biden met the Japanese Prime Minister to talk about the matter. Both were critical of North Korea’s ICBM launch. Both leaders were also in agreement about working together to hold North Korea liable for its actions.
In a statement, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that North Korea’s ICBM launch breaches many UN Security Council resolutions and puts the security situation of the region at great risk. Psaki further argued that this ICBM test reflects the true priorities of North Korea, which is not the welfare of its citizens.
Psaki urged all nations to unite against North Korea’s actions. The door for diplomacy is still open for North Korea if it refrains from these damaging actions. She emphasized that the U.S. would defend its homeland, as well as our Japanese and South Korean allies.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the South Korean military is strictly observing the North Korean military, taking notes and learning all that they can about their neighbor’s secretive weapons program.