North Korea on Wednesday carried out three ballistic missile tests in the direction of the East Sea, including a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the South Korean military announced.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff detected the launches from the Sunan area near the capital Pyongyang in the morning, Yonhap News Agency reported.
With the latest launch, North Korea has fired 17 missiles since the beginning of this year.
The latest missile test came just a day after the US President Joe Biden concluded a visit to Asia.
Ahead of the Biden visit, US officials had said North Korea might carry out missile or nuclear tests during the president’s visit to South Korea and Japan.
“The first of the three launches involved the suspected ICBM that flew some 360 kilometers (224 miles) at a top altitude of 540 km, the agency reported, citing a statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While the second launch, an apparent short-range ballistic missile, reached an altitude of around 20 km, which showed that it probably failed, it added.
The third one was also a short-range ballistic missile. It flew around 760 km at an apogee of 60 km, according to the report.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called an emergency National Security meeting and strongly condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile launch.
“The participants defined North Korea’s missile launch as a grave provocation that violates U.N. Security Council resolutions, raises tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and threatens international peace, and strongly condemned this,” Yoon’s office said in the statement.
During his visit to South Korea on Saturday, Biden said the US would protect its ally against any threat as the two countries agreed to expand measures to deter North Korea.
Since last year, tensions have mounted in the Korean Peninsula as both the north and south have engaged in frequent military drills in shows of power.