North Korea ‘fires ballistic missile at East Sea’

North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile towards its eastern sea, extending a recent barrage of weapons displays, including what it described as mock attacks on South Korean and American targets last week. .

Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said the missile was launched from the western city of Sukchon, north of the capital, Pyongyang, and crossed the country to waters off the north east coast.

The South Korean and Japanese militaries estimated that the missile flew about 155 to 180 miles at a maximum altitude of 18 to 30 miles.

The relatively low trajectory seemed to match the flight characteristics of some of North Korea’s new short-range weapons designed to evade missile defenses.

A TV screen shows archive footage of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at Seoul Station (AP)

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile landed in waters outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.

He said North Korea’s increased testing activities “greatly increased” regional tensions and that Japan had lodged a protest with the North through its embassies in Beijing.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said its nuclear envoy, Kim Gunn, held separate phone calls with his American and Japanese counterparts to discuss trilateral cooperation to counter China’s growing weapons tests and nuclear threat. North Korea.

South Korean officials have said the North may try to ratchet up the pressure further by carrying out its first nuclear test since 2017 in the coming weeks.

The launch came after North Korea fired dozens of missiles last week in an angry reaction to a massive combined air drill between the United States and South Korea that the North has described as a rehearsal for an invasion .

Missile debris
South Korean army soldiers in front of missile debris (Yonhap via AP)

Earlier on Wednesday, the South Korean military said debris recovered from one of the North Korean missiles that flew south last week was determined to be a Soviet-era anti-aircraft weapon dating back to the 1960s.

North Korea’s military said on Monday that its launches last week were action simulations designed to hit “mercilessly” key South Korean and US targets such as airbases and operations command systems.

He said these tests included ballistic missiles loaded with dispersal warheads and underground infiltration warheads intended to launch strikes on enemy airbases, surface-to-air missiles designed to “annihilate” enemy aircraft at different altitudes and distances, and strategic cruise missiles that have fallen. Southeast coast of South Korea.

The North described the launches as an appropriate response to joint U.S. and South Korean air force “Vigilant Storm” exercises that ended on Saturday, which involved some 240 fighter jets, including B-1B supersonic bombers and jets. Advanced F-35 fighter.

This week, the South Korean military conducted annual command post exercises aimed at improving crisis management and operational capabilities to deal with growing North Korean threats. The four-day training is due to last until Thursday.

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