North Korean missile launch
Viral Video Of North Korean Soldiers Doing Intense Taekwondo Moves Sparks Reactions Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

North Korea has test-fired a powerful and possibly its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile toward the sea Thursday.

South Korea's military troops immediately responded with live-fire drills of its missiles launched from land, a fighter jet and a ship, underscoring a revival of tensions as nuclear negotiations remain frozen. It said it confirmed readiness to execute precision strikes against North Korea's missile launch points, also command and support facilities.

According to its neighbors, the North is raising the ante in a pressure campaign aimed at forcing the United States and other rivals to accept it as nuclear power and remove crippling sanctions. The said launch, which extended North Korea's barrage of weapons tests this year, came after the US and South Korean militaries confirmed that the country was preparing a flight of a new large ICBM first unveiled in October 2020.

According to Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the missile flew 71 minutes before possibly landing near Japanese territorial waters off the island of Hokkaido. Japan may search for debris inside its exclusive economic zone in order to study and analyze North Korea's technology.

Japan's coast guard released a warning to vessels in nearby waters; there were no reports of damage to boats or aircraft. A Japanese fisheries organization issued a statement calling the launch a "barbaric act" that puts fishermen's lives and livelihoods at risk.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters that the US requested an open Security Council meeting on the launch which is expected to be scheduled Friday.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North's ICBM fired from the Sunan area near the capital Pyongyang traveled 1,080 kilometers or 670 miles and reached a maximum altitude of over 6,200 kilometers or 3,850 miles in order to keep away from getting into the territorial waters of Japan.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for breaking a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM tests and posing a "serious threat" to the region and the broader international community.

The US also firmly condemned North Korea's launch, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, called it a "brazen violation" of UN Security Council resolutions that risk damaging the region's security.

"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, referring to South Korea's formal name.

It was said to be North Korea's 12th round of weapons launches this year. The North has also tested a variety of new missiles, including a purported hypersonic weapon and its first launch since 2017 of an intermediate-range missile with a potential of reaching Guam, a key US military hub in the Pacific.

A file image of preparations for a North Korean missile launch
People watch a TV at the Seoul Railway Station showing a file image of preparations for a North Korean missile launch on March 24, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) toward the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's military said, a move sharply escalating tensions in the region. Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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