North Korea claims ICBM test-fired on Thursday: KCNA

North Korea claimed that it test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile known called Hwasong-17 on Thursday, reported the state news agency KCNA.

The missile, whose test-firing was reported earlier by the South Korean government, was fired amid “provocative and aggressive” military drills jointly being conducted by the United States and South Korea, stated the agency on Friday.

The launch of the missile on Thursday was the third show of force by North Korea since Sunday and took place hours before South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was headed to Tokyo to attend the summit aimed at boosting ties in the face of growing aggression of Pyongyang.

The drill “serves as an occasion to give a stronger warning to the enemies intentionally escalating the tension in the Korean peninsula,” stated KCNA.

Pyongyang confirmed that the missile was able to travel at a maximum altitude of some 6,000 km (3,700 miles) and flew almost 1,000 km (620 miles) “before accurately landing on the preset area in the open waters off the East Sea of Korea”, which is also called the Sea of Japan, as per the KCNA report.

“The launching drill of the strategic weapon serves as an occasion to give a stronger warning to the enemies intentionally escalating the tension in the Korean peninsula while persistently resorting to irresponsible and reckless military threats,” stated the state news agency KCNA.

The government of South Korea claimed that the missile was launched on a lofted trajectory, upwards instead of outwards, which is generally done to prevent the missile from overflying neighbouring countries.

The defence co-operation between Seoul and Washington has been ramped up in the face of increasing nuclear and military threats from North Korea, which has conducted numerous provocative banned weapons tests recently.

North Korea on Tuesday fired two short-range ballistic missiles after launching two strategic cruise missiles on Sunday from a submarine, hours before the US-South Korea exercises started.

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The drills, known as Freedom Shield, started Monday and will continue for 10 days. The Freedom Shield exercises emphasise the “changing security environment” due to redoubled aggression of North Korea, the allies had stated.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has accused South Korea and the United States of escalating tensions with the military drills.

He “stressed the need to strike fear into the enemies, really deter war and reliably guarantee the peaceful life of our people and their struggle for socialist construction by irreversibly bolstering up the nuclear war deterrent,” reported KCNA. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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