South Korean media suspect that North Korea’s multiple launches on Wednesday of different kinds of ballistic missiles may have been aimed at showcasing its ability to hit targets with different ranges.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North fired three ballistic missiles from near Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning.
The JCS said the first one, launched at around 6 a.m., is believed to have been an intercontinental missile, which travelled about 360 kilometers while reaching an altitude of 540 kilometers. A senior government official suspected the missile is the North’s new model Hwasong-17.
North Korea then launched a short-range missile at 6:37 a.m., but it failed.
The third, also believed to have been a short-range one, was fired five minutes later. The JCS says it traveled 760 kilometers reaching an altitude of about 60 kilometers.
There are views that the last two were an upgraded version of Russia’s Iskander missile.
South Korean media reported an analysis that North Korea wanted to show it has a range of missiles which can attack either the US, Japan and South Korea by breaking their missile-defense systems.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup condemned the launches as a grave provocation in a telephone conversation.
They confirmed that they will strengthen the US military’s “extended deterrence” capabilities that include nuclear weapons for protection of allies.
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