North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the Sea of Japan on Thursday, March 16th, according to officials in Japan and South Korea, hours before a summit between the leaders of the two US allies in Tokyo.
The missile was launched from North Pyongan Province at around 6:30 a.m. local time and flew about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) before landing outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), reaching an altitude of over 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles). It was the fourth ICBM test by North Korea this year and the third missile launch this week alone.
The test came as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was preparing to leave for Tokyo for his first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida since taking office last year. The summit was expected to focus on improving bilateral relations and addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
Both Yoon and Kishida condemned the launch as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional peace and stability. They also reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with each other and with the United States to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.