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Seoul: N. Korea fires three ballistic missiles, including suspected ICBM

TOKYO, May 25 (KUNA) -- North Korea fired three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea (Sea of Japan) on Wednesday, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), South Korea's military said, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launches from the Sunan area of Pyongyang at 6:00 a.m. (1829 GMT Tuesday), 6:37 a.m. and 6:42 a.m., respectively, just a day after US President Joe Biden wrapped up his Asia trip highlighting America's security commitment to Seoul and Tokyo.
The first of the three launches involved the suspected ICBM that flew some 360 km at a top altitude of 540 km, the JCS said. The second missile, deemed to be a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), reached an altitude of around 20 km and "vanished" -- an apparent sign of a launch failure, the JCS said. The last missile, thought to be an SRBM, traveled some 760 km at an apogee of 60 km.
"Our military is monitoring related movements in preparation against the possibility of additional provocations by the North, and is maintaining a full readiness posture to ensure an overwhelming victory at all times," the JCS was quoted a saying.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Wednesday's missile launches highlight the "destabilizing impact of the DPRK's illicit weapons program." DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We are aware of the multiple DPRK ballistic missile launches today and are assessing and consulting closely with our allies and partners," it said in a press release.
On Tuesday, Biden concluded his first Asia trip since his inauguration early last year.
During a summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol on Saturday, Biden reaffirmed the US "extended deterrence" commitment to South Korea using the "full range of US defense capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities." At his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Monday, Biden also underscored the US commitment to the defense of Japan.
This year, the North has conducted a series of apparent ICBM launches, including what it claimed to be a reconnaissance satellite development test, and the March 24 launch that ended its yearslong moratorium on long-range missile tests. (end) mk.bs