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North Korea fires intercontinental ballistic missile, Seoul says — RT World News

The launch failed during the second stage of separation, a South Korean military official told Yonhap.

North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as part of a large-scale show of force against the ongoing war games between the United States and South Korea, according to the Seoul Armed Forces.

South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military had detected “what is presumed to be a long-range ballistic missile launch from Sunan area in Pyongyang” early Thursday morning, noting that two more short-range missiles followed about an hour later.

After analyzing the details of the launch, the military added that the weapon traveled a distance of approximately 760 kilometers (472 miles) and reached a top speed of Mach 15. However, a defense source said more later in Yonhap than “the missile appears to have failed in normal flight” after its second stage of separation.

In a statement later Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said “Our soldiers have reinforced surveillance and vigilance” and maintain a “preparedness posture in close cooperation with the United States.”

Thursday’s launch marks the first time Pyongyang has fired an ICBM since May, although it was a record number of missile tests overall this year. The DPRK has also launched hundreds of rockets, missiles and artillery shells into the sea in recent days as a demonstration in Washington and Seoul, which are in the midst of some of their biggest aerial military drills.

As tensions soar on the peninsula, the North has repeatedly condemned the drills as a rehearsal for a full-scale invasion, even suggesting earlier this week that Washington may be preparing a nuclear attack. The United States and South Korea, meanwhile, have denounced each missile launch by Pyongyang as dangerous provocations and pledged to continue strengthening their military ties.

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