North Korean ICBM launch forces evacuation in Japan

 April 15, 2023

Residents of a Japanese island were warned to evacuate Thursday as North Korea tested a new missile it said would strike "endless fear" into its enemies.

Reports from U.S. ally South Korea said the missile is a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which would allow North Korea to more easily threaten the U.S. with a nuclear strike. The missile flew about 620 miles before falling into the ocean east of North Korea.

The White House condemned the launch as a threat to global security.

"This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people," the Biden administration said.

New North Korean missile

An evacuation order in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido to leave "immediately" was lifted after it was determined the missile would not come near Japan.

South Korea, a U.S. ally, had warned its northern enemy deployed a "new type of ballistic missile with an intermediate or intercontinental range."

North Korea proudly confirmed the report with a blitz of saber-rattling propaganda, saying the Hwasong-18 ICBM would cause its enemies to "suffer in endless fear."

“We will strike with deadly force and respond aggressively until the enemy gives up its idle strategy and foolish behavior and so that it will suffer in endless fear," Pyongyang said.

Tensions rising

The North Koreans bragged the test did not demonstrate the full power of the missile, which they said was fired at a steep angle to avoid endangering North Korea's neighbors, the New York Times reported.

While North Korea has launched ICBMs before, the new solid-fuel missiles can launch more quickly, making them harder to intercept. South Korea confirmed the missile was a solid-fuel ICBM, but they also downplayed the launch, saying North Korea isn't finished developing the weapon.

The test comes as the communist dictatorship is set to celebrate the birthday of its founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

The North, in protest of recent joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, has been snubbing phone calls from its southern neighbor for days, further fueling tensions on the peninsula.

Tensions have also been spiraling around Taiwan, where China has been conducting aggressive drills. The war in Ukraine has also raised concern of escalation leading to a world war.

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