(3rd LD) N. Korea fires suspected ICBM toward East Sea: S. Korean military
(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more details; ADDS byline, photo)
By Kim Soo-yeon and Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and two suspected short-range ones toward the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's military said.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected what is presumed to be a long-range ballistic missile launch from the Sunan area in Pyongyang at around 7:40 a.m. and the firing of two apparent short-range ballistic missiles from Kaechon in South Pyongan Province from around 8:39 a.m.
If confirmed, it would mark the North's first firing of an ICBM since late May.
The South's military is analyzing details of what was launched from Sunan, saying its propellant and warhead were spotted having separated.
It is presumed to have been fired at a lofted angle amid the possibility the launch might have ended in failure.
"Our military has beefed up surveillance and vigilance, while maintaining the readiness posture in close cooperation with the U.S.," the JCS said in a statement.
The North's provocations came a day after it shot more than two dozen missiles, the biggest-ever barrage in a single day. One of them flew southward past the de facto maritime inter-Korean border for the first time since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The North is seen as demonstrating its firepower in protest against this week's combined air drills of South Korea and the United States, involving more than 240 aircraft, amid growing speculation that Pyongyang may conduct a nuclear test soon.
Pyongyang has long denounced joint military drills between Seoul and Washington as a rehearsal for invasion. The allies stress the exercises are defensive in nature.
Pak Jong-chon, secretary of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, warned Wednesday that Seoul and Washington will "pay the most horrible price in history" if they decide to attack the North.
North Korea's foreign ministry earlier warned of "more powerful follow-up measures" against what it called Washington's "ceaseless and reckless" military provocations.
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