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N Korea says missile test-fired Thursday was an ICBM

Photos released on Friday by the country's government media showed Kim Jong Un watching the launch with his daughter

By AFP
March 17, 2023
People sit near a television showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on March 16, 2023.—AFP
People sit near a television showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on March 16, 2023.—AFP

SEOUL: North Korea said the projectile it test-fired Thursday was an intercontinental ballistic missile known as Hwasong-17, the state news agency KCNA reported.

The missile, whose launch was earlier reported by the government in Seoul, was fired amid "provocative and aggressive" joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea, the agency said Friday.

Thursday´s launch was North Korea´s third show of force since Sunday and took place as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol headed to Tokyo for a summit to boost ties in the face of Pyongyang´s growing aggression.

The drill "serves as an occasion to give a stronger warning to the enemies intentionally escalating the tension in the Korean peninsula," KCNA said.

Pyongyang said the missile travelled at a maximum altitude of some 6,000 km (3,700 miles) and flew some 1,000 km (620 miles) "before accurately landing on the preset area in the open waters of the East Sea of Korea," also known as the Sea of Japan, according to the KCNA report.

The South Korean government said the missile was fired on a lofted trajectory - up instead of out, typically done to avoid overflying neighbouring countries.

Seoul and Washington have ramped up defence cooperation in the face of growing military and nuclear threats from the North, which has conducted a series of increasingly provocative banned weapons tests in recent months.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, having launched two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine Sunday, just hours before the US-South Korea exercises kicked off.

Known as Freedom Shield, the drills started Monday and are set to run for 10 days.

The Freedom Shield exercises focus on the "changing security environment" due to North Korea´s redoubled aggression, the allies have said.

North Korea views all such drills as rehearsals for invasion and has repeatedly warned it would take "overwhelming" action in response.