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North Korea Launches Suspected ICBM

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seoul, south korea – North Korea launched a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korea’s military reported Friday, a day after Pyongyang warned of more aggressive steps in response to increased military activity by the United States and its allies.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported the launch about 10:20 a.m. local time, noting that the missile was headed toward the sea off North Korea’s east coast.

No other details were immediately available, including how far the missile flew or where it landed.

On Thursday, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui vowed a “fiercer” response to recent steps by the United States, Japan and South Korea to bolster deterrence against the North.

In recent weeks, North Korea has unleashed an unprecedented barrage of missiles, including some that have prompted air raid sirens and shelter warnings in Japan and South Korea.

North Korea says its launches have been a response to increased military exercises by the United States and its allies. But Washington says its increased drills are necessary as a response to the North Korean tests.

Friday was the second consecutive day on which North Korea launched a ballistic missile. On Thursday, just hours after Choe’s statement was released, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea off its east coast.

North Korea has launched more than 70 ballistic missiles this year – by far a record – including multiple ICBMs.

At a Pentagon briefing Thursday, deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said that North Korea’s continued launches were destabilizing the region, but that the U.S. remained committed to defending its allies.

“Our commitment remains strong to the Republic of Korea and Japan. We are always going to stand up for our allies and partners around the world, in particular in the region, and we’ve called on North Korea to stop these ballistic missile launches,” she said.

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