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North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile At Sea, South Korean Military Says | North Korea

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile towards its eastern seas on Sunday, extending a provocative streak of weapons testing as a US aircraft carrier visits South Korea for joint military exercises in response to the growing nuclear threat from the North.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile launched from the inland city of Taechon traveled 600 km (370 miles) across the country at a maximum altitude of 60 km (37 miles) before landing in waters off the east coast of North Korea.

The South Korean military condemned North Korea’s launch as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“The launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea is a serious provocative act that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community,” the chiefs of staff of North Korea said. South in a statement.

South Korea had earlier detected signs that the North was preparing to fire a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the president’s office said on Saturday – a weapon that Pyongyang had last tested in may.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch posed no “immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies,” but did stress the destabilizing impact of illicit aviation programs. North Korea’s nuclear and missile weapons.

Sunday’s launch is the latest in a record series of weapons tests by Pyongyang’s nuclear army this year, including the firing of a full-range intercontinental ballistic missile.

In May, the North tested a short-range ballistic missile from Sinpo, a major North Korean shipyard.

“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile in the East Sea,” Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said on Sunday, without giving further details.

The Japanese Coast Guard also confirmed a likely ballistic missile launch, citing information from the Tokyo Defense Ministry.

“Vessels, be alert for new information and if you spot any foreign objects, do not approach them but notify the Coast Guard,” the Coast Guard said.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the object appeared to have fallen outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Commuters at Seoul Station watch TV news of North Korean missile launch on big screen
Commuters at Seoul Station watch television news of North Korea’s missile launch on Sunday. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea’s hawkish President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has pledged to step up joint military exercises with the United States after years of failed diplomacy with North Korea under his predecessor.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the ships of its strike group docked in the southern port city of Busan on Friday, part of a push by Seoul and Washington for more US strategic assets operate in the region.

Yoon is also due to meet US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday during her visit to Seoul this week, following a visit by President Joe Biden in May and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month.

The USS Reagan will participate in joint exercises off the east coast of South Korea this month.

Washington is Seoul’s main security ally and is stationing about 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect it from the North.

The two countries have long conducted joint exercises, which they say are purely defensive, but North Korea sees them as rehearsals for an invasion.

“Pyongyang could put on a show of force as a US aircraft carrier heads to South Korea for defense drills,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“But North Korea’s major tests are mostly part of a long-term campaign to advance offensive military capabilities.”

South Korean and American officials have been warning for months that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing to carry out another nuclear test.

The isolated regime has tested nuclear weapons six times since 2006. Its latest and most powerful in 2017 – which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb – had an estimated yield of 250 kilotons.

On Wednesday, the North Korea-focused website 38 North said its analysis of commercial satellite images showed several barges and other vessels gathered in the eastern port of Sinpo, where North Korea has a major construction shipyard. of submarines. The report says the North may be preparing to launch a new submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles.

North Korea has made great efforts to be able to fire nuclear missiles from submarines. Such weapons would in theory strengthen North Korea’s deterrence by ensuring retaliation after absorbing a land-based nuclear attack.

Ballistic missile submarines would also add a new maritime threat to the North’s growing collection of solid-fuel weapons fired from ground vehicles, which are being developed with the apparent aim of overwhelming missile defense systems. in South Korea and Japan.

Easley said: “North Korea may delay its seventh nuclear test out of respect for the upcoming China Policy Conference which Xi Jinping is preparing closely to expand his leadership.

“But there are limits to Pyongyang’s restraint.”

Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

theguardian Gt

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