North Korean ICBM May Have Landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone: Report

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: February 18, 2023, 16:00 IST

North Korean missile launch comes shortly after the country said it would strongly react to tabletop military exercises between US and South Korea (Image: Reuters/File)

This is the second time in four months that a North Korean ICBM has landed in Japan’s EEZ

The apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that North Korea fired on Saturday landed some 200 kilometres off Hokkaido’s Oshima Island, inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Japan Times said in a report.

This is the first ICBM class weapon North Korea has fired since November. It is Pyongyang’s first missile test since the start of the year and comes shortly after US and South Korea announced they will be conducting joint drill.

According to a report by Japan Times, the missile travelled approximately 900 kms and reached a peak altitude of 5,700 km. The Japan Defence Ministry said that the flight time was 66 minutes and flew in a lofted trajectory.

Earlier, the South Korean military confirmed that neighbours North Korea fired a long-range missile. The launch took place from Pyongyang’s Sunan region.

North Korea on Friday warned that joint tabletop military drills between the US and South Korea will be interpreted as a rehearsal for invasion and said it will respond strongly and in an “unprecedented” manner to the exercises.

“In order to protect the lives and property of our citizens, we will continue to work closely with the United States and other countries, and do our utmost to collect, analyse and monitor information,” Japan state defence minister Toshiro Ino was quoted as saying by Japan Times.

Ino said Japan will hold discussions with its allies and the United States regarding the launch.

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This is not the first time that a North Korean missile has landed in the Japanese exclusive economic zone. In November, the North Korean ICBM Hwasong-17 landed in the same waters off Hokkaido and into Japan’s EEZ.

Japan’s EEZ extends 370 kms from its coast.

South Korea’s hawkish President Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office in May 2022, has vowed to get tough on the North, and had moved to quickly ramp up joint drills, which had been scaled back during the Covid pandemic, according to a report by AFP.

South Korea also called the nuclear-armed North its “enemy” in a defence document earlier this week and North Korea responded by showing off a record number of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles at a military parade in Pyongyang last week.

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