North Korea fired three missiles the day after Joe Biden visited Asia

The timing chosen is too symbolic to be trivial. North Korea launched, Wednesday, May 25, a “suspected intercontinental ballistic missile”And The South Korean military said that as part of a series of three missile tests, hours after US President Joe Biden left the region.

According to Seoul, at least three missiles were launched from Sunan, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, toward the Sea of ​​Japan at 6 a.m. (11 p.m. Tuesday evening, in Paris), 6:37 a.m., and 6:42 a.m.

The first ballistic missile [l’ICBM présumé] It has a range of about 360 kilometers and a height of about 540 kilometers.”This is what the South Korean General Staff said in a press release. The second ballistic missile He disappeared at an altitude of 20 km.The third projectile – a suspected short-range ballistic missile – traveled about 760 km at an altitude of about 60 km. Japan’s Defense Ministry said one of the ballistic missiles followed him “irregular path”.

“illegal act”

Pyongyang is seeking to use technology that would allow the missiles to be maneuvered after launch, including a Hypersonic Glide Technologymaking interception of missile defense systems more difficult.

“North Korea’s consecutive launch of an ICBM and short-range ballistic missile today is an illegal act, in direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions”Seoul government said after a meeting of the National Security Council.

The South Korean military also said that South Korea and the United States carried out the attack Ground-to-ground missile firing exercisemobilizing combat aircraft in response to “North Korea’s Alleged Provocations Regarding ICBMs and Missiles”.

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The North Korean regime, which is subject to UN sanctions over its weapons programs, has accelerated its missile tests in recent months, blaming this situation. “hostile” United States. He tested an ICBM in March for the first time since 2017. South Korean and US intelligence services suspect he is planning an imminent nuclear test, which would also be his first in five years.

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Washington is open to dialogue

“US condemns DPRK’s launch of multiple ballistic missiles”A US State Department spokesman responded late Tuesday, using North Korea’s official name. “We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from further provocations and to engage in substantive and constructive dialogue.”he added.

The US government has said in recent days that it expects a ” excitement “ from Pyongyang during or just after the stay of Biden, who completed a tour of South Korea and Japan on Tuesday night. During his stay in Seoul, the US president and his new South Korean counterpart, according to the latter, raised the intensification of their joint military exercises, as well as the deployment of combat aircraft and missiles on the peninsula. To prepare for a nuclear attack.

An increase in joint exercises between Washington and Seoul is infuriating Pyongyang, which views the exercises as rehearsals for a general invasion. These maneuvers have been reduced in recent years due to the pandemic, allowing MM predecessors to. Biden and Yun – Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in – to try to get closer to North Korea.

Shortly before he left South Korea on Sunday for Japan, Joe Biden sent an individual message to Kim Jong Un. When asked by a journalist who asked him if he had a message for the North Korean leader, the president replied curtly: “Good morning. Period.” A way to announce that Washington remains open to dialogue with North Korea, even in the absence of reciprocity.

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Talks with Pyongyang have stalled since the failed summit in 2019 between gentlemen. Kim and Trump, the President of the United States at the time. The North Korean regime ignored all offers of dialogue from Washington.

The unknown of the health crisis

During his trip to South Korea, Mr. Biden also said that Washington had offered to provide vaccines against Covid-19 to North Korea, but it had not. ‘No response received’. Since the beginning of May, more than 3 million people have been infected “fever”According to the term used by state media, 68 people have died in North Korea, according to the latest official report published on Wednesday.

The country, whose population of 25 million has not been vaccinated, has completely cut itself off from the world since the beginning of the pandemic to protect itself from the virus, but the spread of contamination with the Omicron variant in neighboring countries ended in failure. strategy.

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How the health crisis will affect the military decisions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the great unknown that the Americans, South Koreans and Japanese are trying to explain.

On May 12, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test, the same day that leader Kim announced a missile launch ” Emergency “ due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

The world with AFP

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