South Korea announces launch of Hwaseong-15 ballistic missile by North Korea

The North Korean military launched the Hwaseong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile. The rocket flew 989 km and rose to a height of 5768 km. This was announced on Sunday, February 19, by the South Korean agency Yonhap.

It is noted that the launch took place without prior planning on the evening of February 18 on the orders of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. According to the publication, the rocket rose at a high angle to a maximum altitude of 5768 km in 66.9 minutes.

Earlier, on February 18, the Yonhap agency, citing the South Korean military, reported that the DPRK launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of ​​Japan.

Later, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed this information. According to him, the projectile fell inside the economic zone of Japan to the west of the island of Hokkaido.

On February 17, the DPRK Foreign Ministry promised to respond to the expansion of US and South Korean military exercises. According to the agency, the plans of Washington and Seoul to conduct about 20 joint large-scale military exercises during 2023 demonstrate that the situation on the Korean Peninsula could plunge into a “whirlpool of serious tensions.”

The day before, the UN announced a closed meeting of the Security Council on the problem of North Korea. On the same day, Konstantin Asmolov, a leading researcher at the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of China and Modern Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in a conversation with Izvestia that at the moment North and South Korea have begun to “quite actively” follow the path of militarization. In his opinion, both sides believe that they have the right to take protective measures against each other, which, however, leads only to a vicious circle.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin on January 31 allowed the US to use nuclear weapons to protect South Korea. He pointed to a record number of provocative actions by the DPRK in 2022. The head of the Pentagon separately noted that one of the largest foreign contingents of the US Armed Forces, numbering 28.5 thousand, is located in South Korea, which in turn should demonstrate Washington’s commitment to maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.

At the same time, the heads of the defense departments of the United States and South Korea issued a joint statement, in which they agreed to expand the scope of joint exercises in 2023.

Prior to this, on January 1, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile and mass production of tactical nuclear weapons to protect the sovereignty and security of North Korea.

On December 31, Pyongyang launched three missiles towards the Sea of ​​Japan, they flew about 350 km, after which they fell into the sea. Japan, through diplomatic channels in Beijing, protested to Pyongyang in connection with the missile launches. In total, in 2022, the DPRK launched 70 ballistic missiles, which was a record for the development of these weapons by the country.

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