North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile: South Korea
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, according to South Korea and Japan, the latest in a spate of weapons tests by the nuclear-armed state.
The missile, which was launched around 11:05 a.m. from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast, flew about 500 miles before hitting a target, according to a South Korean military statement.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said the missile flew up to 30 miles.
Seoul has condemned the North’s recent launches of ballistic missiles as “clear violations” of a UN Security Council resolution.
Shortly after the launch, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the US had deployed a B-1B strategic bomber to a joint air exercise Seoul and Washington said they were holding to bolster enhanced deterrence.
The launches have also drawn criticism from Tokyo and Washington.
“North Korea’s behavior threatens international peace and security and is unacceptable,” Japan’s Defense Minister Toshiro Ino told a news conference, adding that Japan had protested fiercely through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s launch posed no immediate threat to US personnel or its allies. But the recent missile launches underscore the destabilizing effect of Pyongyang’s illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, it said in a statement.
The North launched a suspected ICBM into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president flew to Tokyo for a summit to discuss ways to counter the North.
Pyongyang said Thursday’s ICBM launch was a warning of military exercises between the US and South Korea, state media outlet KCNA reported.
South Korean and American forces began 11-day exercises dubbed “Freedom Shield 23” a week ago on a scale not seen since 2017.
North Korea also criticized US and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, KCNA reported later in the day, for raising its human rights abuses at a recent informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council, calling the move a “serious challenge” to its sovereignty.
“The US launched a ‘human rights campaign’ against the DPRK in the UN arena while staging the aggressive joint military exercise that poses a serious threat to our national security,” the North Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations was quoted as saying by state media.