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JCS: N. Korea Launched 3 Back-to-Back Ballistic Missiles, including Suspected ICBM

Hot Issues of the Week2022-05-29


North Korea on Wednesday launched three ballistic missiles, including one believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM), toward the East Sea.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS), the North fired the missiles at around 6 a.m, 6:37 a.m. and 6:42 a.m. from Pyongyang's Sunan area.

The first missile is a suspected ICBM, estimated to have traveled around 360 kilometers at an altitude of 540 kilometers. Military authorities reportedly believe it may have been a Hwasong-17, which had failed a test launch in March.

The second and the third missiles are suspected to be KN-23 short-range missiles, with similar characteristics to the Russian Iskander.

The JCS believes the second missile failed at an altitude of around 20 kilometers. The third, however, traveled around 760 kilometers, reaching an altitude of 60 kilometers.

This marks the second time Pyongyang conducted missile tests since the Yoon Suk Yeol administration took office earlier this month, and comes just four days after the South Korea-U.S. summit held in Seoul over the weekend.

The allies' military authorities, in response, fired a Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile and an Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, missile into the East Sea to display their joint "rapid strike capabilities." The last time the allies carried out a joint response was in July 2017.

On Tuesday, the South Korean Air Force performed the "Elephant Walk" training exercise involving some 30 fully-armed F-15K fighter jets, a demonstration intended to deter North Korea from further provocative acts.

At a National Security Council(NSC) meeting following North Korea’s missile tests on Wednesday, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered that practical steps be taken to activate U.S. extended deterrence and strengthen the South Korea-U.S. combined defense posture, as previously agreed by the two nations’ leaders.

Yoon ordered the military to maintain its readiness posture to ensure that there is no vacuum in national security.

The extended deterrence would involve a U.S. deployment of its full range of military assets to defend ally South Korea in the event of a contingency.

Yoon called for a thorough implementation of sanctions on the North, including those imposed by UN Security Council resolutions, through close coordination with the U.S. and the international community.

He also urged officials to make sure that the latest provocations by the North do not adversely affect the South Korean economy and the people’s daily lives.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council(UNSC) failed to adopt a resolution aimed at imposing additional sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches as China and Russia vetoed it together.

The Security Council put the resolution to a vote in a session at the UN headquarters in New York.

The resolution received the support of 13 members of the 15-member Security Council, with just China and Russia – both permanent members – together vetoing fresh sanctions against the North.

A UNSC resolution must secure the support of nine or more members and cannot pass if it is vetoed by any of the five permanent members – Russia, China, the U.S., France and Britain.

The resolution was led by the U.S. in response to the North's series of ballistic missile launches, including intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBM).

The resolution would have reduced the amount of crude oil that North Korea can legally import each year from four million to three million barrels.

It would also similarly cut the annual cap on refined petroleum exports to a maximum of 375-thousand barrels from 500-thousand barrels.

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