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North Korea has test-fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017, according to South Korean and Japanese officials, in a provocative action that was condemned by President Joe Biden.

Japan’s Defense Ministry tracked what is believed to be an ICBM, which flew to an altitude of 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) and to a distance of 1,080 kilometers (671 miles) with a flight time of 71 minutes before landing in waters near Japan’s western coast, CNN reports.

Thursday’s missile launch is the 11th test North Korea has conducted this year, including one test on March 16 that South Korean officials said exploded in mid-air. News of the test broke while President Biden is meeting other Western leaders in Brussels for a high-stakes summit to discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The missile launch is the longest-range test conducted by North Korea since the country’s dictator Kim Jong Un imposed a moratorium on ICBM and nuclear testing during diplomatic talks with President Donald Trump’s administration. The resumption of ICBM testing is yet another destabilizing action taken by an American adversary under Biden’s watch since the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday to discuss the matter.

“The two Leaders discussed DPRK’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile, which both Leaders strongly condemned, stressed the need for diplomacy, and agreed to continue working together to hold the DPRK accountable,” a White House official said in a statement, according to The Hill.

Officials from the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have each condemned the missile test.

“This launch is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people. We urge all countries to hold the DPRK accountable for such violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations,” she continued.

“The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions. The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and Republic of Korea and Japanese allies,” she said.

The missile test comes two weeks after South Korea elected a new conservative president, Yoon Suk Yeol, who is widely expected to be tougher on North Korea than his predecessor, according to CNN.

In response to the suspected ICBM test, South Korea’s military conducted exercises, launching several warning missiles for the first time since 2017, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Our military is monitoring North Korean military’s movements and have confirmed that we have the capability and posture to accurately strike the origin location of the missile launch and command and support facilities any time North Korea launches a missile,” the JCS said.

Source: TheBlaze

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