The United States denounced, Thursday, March 10, the last missile launches carried out by North Korea. Washington accuses Pyongyang of testing recently “a new intercontinental ballistic missile system”and is preparing sanctions to respond to them, according to the Pentagon and the White House.
North Korea has carried out numerous missile launches since the beginning of the year, but Washington analyzed more precisely two launches, carried out on February 26 and March 4. The United States concluded that these two shots “involved a new intercontinental ballistic missile system that North Korea is developing, which was originally unveiled at a parade” on Oct. 10, according to a statement from Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
He felt that these tests were intended to “evaluate the new system” before a future launch “full-range potentially disguised as a space operation”which would end North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing, and nuclear testing, since 2017.
In Tokyo, the Japanese Ministry of Defense confirmed Washington’s analysis, adding that the missile launched in February reached a maximum altitude of around 600 kilometers and traveled a distance of around 300 kilometers, and that launched in March an altitude maximum of 550 kilometers for a distance of 300 kilometers. He condemned “an absolutely unacceptable threat to peace and security”.
threat of sanctions
Pyongyang had assured, after these firings, that they were satellite development tests, carried out from the Sohae base, on the northwest coast of North Korea.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, also visited this base on Friday, according to the official KCNA agency, and ordered that the facilities be extended and modernized – enough to further fuel speculation about an imminent and complete test. long-range missile.
Without waiting, the United States will, for their part, announce measures on Friday to “prevent North Korea from having access to foreign products and technologies allowing it to develop its prohibited weapons programs”and “other actions will follow in the coming days”said a senior US official, who requested anonymity.
“The United States has decided to make this information public and to share it with our allies and partners because we prioritize the reduction of strategic risks and because we firmly believe that the international community must speak with one voice. to oppose future development of such weapons by North Korea.”the White House official said.
“We continue to seek diplomatic dialogue and are ready to meet without conditions” with the North Koreans, he nevertheless added.
Multiplication of missile fire
Washington and its partners failed, at the beginning of the week, to have the UN Security Council adopt a text against North Korea, which has multiplied the firing of missiles, of different ranges, butting against the opposition of the Russia and China.
Already under severe international sanctions, Pyongyang has so far rejected all offers of dialogue since the breakdown in 2019 of talks between leader Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump.
North Korea has intensified the modernization of its army, and increased the firing of missiles recently. According to analysts, Pyongyang would also seek to take advantage of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia to carry out new tests at a time when the United States is focusing all its attention on this conflict.
The US announcement comes in the context of the presidential victory in South Korea of the conservative Yoon Seok-youl, who wants to toughen his tone against North Korea.
The new South Korean president, whom Joe Biden called on Thursday to congratulate him, has thus promised himself to“learn a few ways” to Kim Jong-un.