North Korea tested a presumed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in one of three missile tests on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The tests come on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s first presidential trip to Asia.
South Korea said the presumed ICBM was fired at about 6 a.m. local time Wednesday with a flight range of about 360 kilometers (223 miles) and altitude of approximately 540 kilometers (335 miles).
At about 6:37 a.m., the North fired a second ballistic missile — not believed to be an ICBM — which seems to have disappeared from South Korean tracking at an altitude of 20 kilometers (12 miles), South Korea said.
The third missile, presumed to be a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), flew about 760 kilometers (472 miles) and had an altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles), the South Korean JCS added.
Intelligence authorities from South Korea and the United States are analyzing the tests for further details, the JCS said.
Missile expert Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said Wednesday’s test was not likely of a full ICBM, because the range was well short of what that type of missile would travel.
Lewis said Wednesday’s test was similar to past tests that the US has claimed are related to development of a new ICBM.
The Pentagon said in March that two North Korean ballistic missile tests conducted on February 26 and March 4 were not intended to demonstrate ICBM range or capability, but were “likely to evaluate this new system before conducting a test at full range in the future, potentially disguised as a space launch.”
Japan also reported at least two missiles fired from North Korea, with one of those flying in an “irregular trajectory” at a distance of about 750 kilometers (466 miles), Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said.