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North Korean ICBM test invites US sanctions, brings Japan and South Korea closer

North Korea is aggressively testing a variety of missiles (Photo: IANS)

The US imposed sanctions on five North Korean and Russian organisations as well as one entity in China on Thursday after Pyongyang fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) after 2017.

Announcing the sanctions, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: "The United States today announced sanctions on five entities and individuals located in Russia and the DPRK, and one entity in the People's Republic of China (PRC) for proliferation activities under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act".

Price said the measures are part of American efforts to prevent  North Korea advance its missile programme and "highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator to programs of concern", reported The Korea Times.

Meanwhile, the ICBM tested by North Korea flew 1,100 km for around one hour and fell in Japanese waters, increasing distrust among neighbours–Japan, South Korea and North Korea. The missile was reportedly fired from the Pyongyang international airport.

Pyongyang has unleashed a flurry of missile tests this year, firing some of its missiles from trains, submarines and various places.  

Seoul responded with five missile tests from land, sea and air, while Japan alleged that the missile has the capacity to reach the American east coast.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Friday that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui Yong spoke over the developments and have decided to enhance cooperation between themselves and also with the US to contain the increased threat from North Korea.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told media persons that North Korea's firing of the ICBM was "a serious threat to the peace and stability of Japan and the international community, moving to a different dimension from its series of previous missile launches". Kyodo news agency says that the missile is capable of travelling over 15,000 km and reaching the whole of the US mainland including its east coast.

Coming on the heels of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the missile test has unnerved countries in the region. Kishi said: "We cannot tolerate North Korea conducting this missile launch that could escalate its provocations against the international community at a time when the world is focusing on Russia's aggression against Ukraine".