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(2nd LD) Moon says N. Korea's missile launch violates moratorium on ICBM tests

All News 17:40 March 24, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS statement, details in paras 3-9)
By Kim Deok-hyun

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in condemned North Korea's launch of what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile Thursday, saying leader Kim Jong-un scrapped a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests.

Moon made the remarks while presiding over an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) convened shortly after the North fired an apparent long-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea, Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

"North Korea's launch represents a scrapping on its own of a moratorium on ICBM tests that State Affairs Commission Chairman Kim Jong-un promised to the international community and a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions," Moon was quoted as saying during the meeting.

Moon "strongly condemned" the launch, saying it "causes a serious threat to the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and called for Pyongyang to immediately stop actions that raise tensions and return to the dialogue table.

Noting the launch came at a time of government change in South Korea, Moon also ordered officials to explore all countermeasures while cooperating closely with related countries and the international community based on the staunch Korea-U.S. alliance.

Moon also instructed officials to work closely with the office of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol.

The North's latest launch came as South Korean and U.S. military authorities have warned Pyongyang was preparing for a launch of its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile.

South Korea's military said the North's missile reached a maximum altitude of 6,200 kilometers and flew 1,080 kilometers. North Korea had not launched an ICBM since 2017.

The North's launch also comes at a sensitive time for South Korea, as conservative President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is set to succeed the liberal Moon administration. Yoon has pledged to take a tougher stance on North Korea.

The North's move came four days after it fired four artillery shots into the Yellow Sea, apparently using multiple rocket launchers, from Sukchon, north of Pyongyang.

Thursday's launch was the North's 12th round of weapons tests this year.

(2nd LD) Moon says N. Korea's missile launch violates moratorium on ICBM tests - 1

kdh@yna.co.kr
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