North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday, April 13, triggering a brief alert in the Japanese island of Hokkaido, before Japan clarified that the projectile had not hit its territory. The missile "did not fall on Japanese territory", Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
This fired ballistic missile is "possibly solid-fuelled", the South Korean military said, a propulsion technology made a strategic priority by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "North Korea appears to have launched a new type of ballistic missile, possibly solid-fuelled," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said it was probably an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The projectile "is likely an ICBM-class ballistic missile" whose trajectory was "steeply inclined to the east", Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, adding that the missile did not appear to have fallen in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Japanese. North Korea generally fires its ballistic missiles with a lobed trajectory, so as to prevent them from flying over other countries. But North Korean missiles have already passed over Japan several times in the past.
The shooting triggered a brief alert in the island of Hokkaido, in the north of the Japanese archipelago. "Evacuate immediately. Evacuate immediately,” the Japanese government ordered in a message, urging residents of Hokkaido to take shelter in buildings or underground. Coastguards and local authorities, however, quickly ruled out any danger.
The shooting came as two ministerial meetings of rich G7 countries are scheduled for the next few days in Japan: a meeting of environment ministers in Hokkaido on Saturday and Sunday, and a meeting of foreign ministers on Sunday and Monday in Karuizawa ( Center).
For its part, the United States "strongly condemns" Thursday's firing of a "long-range ballistic missile", the White House said. "This launch constitutes a brazen violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions, unnecessarily increases tensions and risks destabilizing security in the region," said Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council of the United Nations. the American presidency.
Pyongyang has stepped up arms tests in recent months, heightening tension with Seoul and Washington, which have for their part strengthened their military cooperation and carried out vast joint maneuvers in the region.
On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for increasing his country's deterrence capabilities to counter "the escalating maneuvers by US imperialists and treacherous South Korean puppets to unleash a war of assault," according to the official KCNA news agency.
Since March 23, Pyongyang has claimed to have conducted three tests of an "underwater nuclear attack drone" capable of "producing a large-scale radioactive tsunami". These craft are known as "Haeil", which means tsunami in Korean.
The North Korean regime also said it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on March 16. Last year, North Korea declared itself an "irreversible" nuclear power, thus burying any possibility of negotiating its denuclearization. And in March, Kim Jong-un ordered his troops to intensify their exercises for "real war". Washington and Seoul responded with new joint military maneuvers, involving US stealth aircraft.
Pyongyang sees the drills as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory and on Tuesday called them "hysterical" drills, "simulating all-out war against" North Korea. South Korea also called North Korea "irresponsible" after Pyongyang cut off communications with Seoul last week.
The North and South militaries communicate twice a day through a special line, but North Korea has not answered calls since April 7, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.