North Korean military test-fires long-range missile ahead of key South Korean-Japanese summit

A person at a railway station in Seoul on Thursday morning local time walks past a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test. Photo:Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) hours before the leaders of South Korea and Japan were due to meet for a key summit on Thursday, South Korean and Japanese officials said.

The big picture: The missile that the officials said landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday morning local time came as U.S. and South Korean militaries conduct an 11-day joint drill that began Friday, which they said involves the integration of elements of "live exercises" and simulations to symbolize "the defensive nature of the exercise."

  • Pyongyang has said it regards such action as hostile and a North Korean missile test had been expected.
  • The North Korean missile that South Korean officials said flew for some 620 miles with a maximum altitude of 3,730 miles was the fourth launch this week, though this was the first ICBM test this month.

What they're saying: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol told reporters ahead of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Thursday afternoon that there was "an increasing need" for Seoul and Tokyo "to cooperate in this time of a polycrisis" amid increasing nuclear and missile threats from Pyongyang and world supply chain disruptions, per CNN.

Of note: The meeting in Tokyo is the first between the leaders of South Korea and Japan for 12 years, the New York Times notes.

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