North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday, the test activities appear to be in response to ongoing US-South Korean military exercises.
The North’s continuation of its missile tests shows the country is not deterred by the US-South Korea drills, which it sees as an invasion rehearsal, although many experts suggest the tests could be to expand its weapons arsenal. To do so may be part of the larger goal of the North, to win international recognition. As a nuclear state and international sanctions have been lifted.
The missile, which was launched from the North’s northwestern Tongchangri region, flew across the country and splashed down in the sea off its east coast, according to South Korean and Japanese assessments, which suggested the missile had traveled about 500 miles. set the distance This range shows that the missile can target South Korea.
The chief nuclear envoys of South Korea, Japan and the US strongly condemned the missile launch as a provocation for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. They agreed in a phone call to strengthen their coordination to send a firm international response to the North’s testing activity, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry.
North Korea says ICBM launch was a ‘warning’
South Korea’s military said its joint drills with the United States would continue and it would be ready to respond to any provocation by North Korea. During exercises on Sunday, the US flew at least one long-range B-1B bomber for joint aerial training with South Korean warplanes, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.
North Korea has been cautious about deploying B-1Bs, which are capable of carrying large conventional weapons payloads. The country tested the missiles in February in response to B-1B flights at ranges that showed they could reach some of South Korea’s military air bases.
According to Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Inoue, the missile landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. He said there were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the area and that the missile showed an erratic trajectory, a possible reference to North Korea’s highly maneuverable, nuclear-capable KN-23 missile.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s launch did not pose an immediate threat to the US region or its allies. However, it said the North’s recent launches “highlight the destabilizing effect of its illegal” weapons programs and that US security commitments to South Korea and Japan remain “iron”.
The test was North Korea’s third round of weapons tests since the US and South Korea began joint military drills on Monday. The exercise includes computer simulation and field exercises and is expected to continue till Thursday. The joint exercise is the biggest of its kind since 2018.
US-South Korea drills scare North Korea, claims Pentagon hours after North Korea launches ICBM
North Korea recently tested weapons, including its longest-range Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the US mainland. According to state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the launch was done to “instill fear in the enemies”.
A launch on Thursday, the North’s first ICBM firing in over a month, prompted strong protests from the South Korean, Japanese and US governments as it coincided with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visiting Tokyo for a summit with the Japanese prime minister. was held a few hours before. Fumio Kishida.
Yoon and Kishida agreed during the summit to resume talks about defense and to further strengthen security cooperation with the US to counter North Korea.
North Korea has missiles that keep Japan within striking distance. In October, North Korea fired a medium-range missile over northern Japan, forcing communities to issue evacuation alerts and stop trains.
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Kishida issued a response to North Korea’s launch on Sunday that included working closely with South Korea and the US
The North also fired cruise missiles from the submarine a day before the start of the military exercise. According to North Korean state media, the missiles were a demonstration of their commitment to respond with “overwhelmingly powerful” force to military exercises by the US and South Korea.
The US and South Korea are planning more training involving a US aircraft carrier later this month after their current drills end, in a move that suggests North Korea may be following those with additional weapons tests. Will answer the exercises.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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