North Korea on Wednesday fired three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS), the first three launches were suspected to be ICBM which flew for about 360 km at an altitude of 540 metres. Military authorities presume that the missile launched is the North’s newest Hwasong-17 ICBM. The second missile launch, apparently a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), is deemed to be a failure because after reaching an altitude of 20 km it vanished, reported Yonhap News Agency.

It is speculated that amid the Covid-19 outbreak and economic crisis, North Korea could conduct an ICBM or nuclear test to bolster its military presence and tighten national unity.

“The North’s ICBM launch is yet another case of its breach of a moratorium on ICBM launches that it itself pledged to the international community, and the launch is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a serious provocative act,” stated the JCS, as reported Yonhap News Agency.

In addition, they said, “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.”

In the opinion of the US Indo-Pacific Command, the missile launches highlight the “destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” reported, Yonhap News Agency. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We are aware of the multiple DPRK (North Korea) ballistic missile launches today and are assessing and consulting closely with our allies and partners,” states the press release “The US commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”

However, in response to North Korea’s missile launch, South Korea and the US fired a Hyunmoo-II ballistic missile and an Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile into the East Sea to establish their rapid strike capabilities, said the JCS as reported by Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier, North Korea launched what was supposed to be an ICBM, an apparent submarine-launched ballistic missile, in an attempted effort to diversify its nuclear delivery vehicles. (ANI)