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North Korea launches series of missiles, including ICBM, soon after Biden departs Asia

North Korea fired three missiles, including one thought to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday, after U.S. President Joe Biden left Asia following a trip in which he agreed to new measures to deter the nuclear-armed state.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the three missiles were fired in less than an hour from the Sunan area of the North’s capital, Pyongyang, where its international airport has become a hub of missile tests.

The first missile launched on Wednesday appeared to be an ICBM, while a second unidentified missile appears to have failed mid-flight, the South said. The third missile was a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), it said.

Read more: North Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons if threatened, Kim warns

In response, the United States and South Korea held combined military drills, including surface-to-surface missile tests, South Korea’s military said.

North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile launches this year, from hypersonic weapons to test firing its largest ICBMs for the first time in nearly five years. It also appears to be preparing for what would be its first nuclear test since 2017.

U.S. and South Korean officials had recently warned that North Korea appeared ready for another weapons test, possibly during Biden’s visit, which was his first trip to Asia as president and included a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul.

Yoon, who took office on May 10, convened his first meeting of the national security council, which strongly condemned the latest launch as a “grave provocation”, especially as it came before Biden returned home.

Yoon ordered the aides to strengthen the U.S. extended deterrence and combined defence posture as

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