North Korea fired the ICBM from Sunan District, Pyongyang, toward the East Sea at around 10:15 a.m. local, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The ICBM traveled about 1,000 kilometers, reaching a top speed of Mach 22 and an altitude of around 6,100 km, the JCS said in a statement, adding that South Korean and US intelligence authorities were still analyzing the missile’s specifications.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida immediately denounced North Korea for firing the missile, which was believed to have splashed down within Japan’s EEZ near the main northern island of Hokkaido.
It is the first North Korean missile to land in Japan’s EEZ since March.
North Korea's missile Friday marks its eighth ICBM launch this year. It came around two weeks after the failed launch of what appeared to be the new Hwasong-17 ICBM on Nov. 3.
Notably, the latest ICBM launch came a day after North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui sent a “serious warning” against enhancing trilateral military and security cooperation among South Korea, the US and Japan.
Choe warned that North Korea will take “fierce” tit-for-tat military actions corresponding to the moves by the US and its allies to strengthen their deterrence posture against North Korea.
Hours after Choe’s warning, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile from near Wonsan, Kangwon Province, toward the East Sea on Thursday. North Korea has fired more than 60 ballistic missiles just this year.
New counter-missile working group
In light of escalating North Korean missile threats, South Korea and the US also on Friday launched a new working group tailored to step up their policy coordination and communication to strengthen the alliance’s counter-missile capability and posture.
The first meeting of the Counter-Missile Working Group was held in Seoul around two weeks after the South Korean and US defense chiefs discussed ways to enhance the alliance’s deterrence and readiness posture at the 54th Security Consultative Meeting on Nov. 3 at the Pentagon, according to officials.
During the meeting, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed on the necessity to expeditiously operate the consultative body, according to the Defense Ministry.
Seoul and Washington first agreed to establish the CMWG within the high-level Deterrence Strategy Committee at the South Korea-US Integrated Defense Dialogue in August in a bid to lay the ground for profound policy coordination in countering North Korean missile threats.
“South Korea and the US will strengthen the cooperation between the two defense ministries in preparation for escalating North Korean missile threats,” the ministry said. “Both will promote policy cooperation more expeditiously to strengthen the alliance’s counter-missile capability and readiness posture.”