North Korea remains defiant after firing two more ballistic missiles despite protests and military drills from US, Japan, and South Korea
The North Korean military said they fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the Munchon area of Kangwon Province into the waters off the peninsula’s eastern coast, the South Korean military said.
The missiles were launched between 1:47 a.m. and 1:53 a.m. local time Sunday, according to Japan’s State Minister of Defense, Toshiro Ino.
Both missiles fell outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Ino added.
The first missile is estimated to have flown about 350 kilometers, or 217 miles, at a maximum altitude of approximately 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, according to Ino. The second traveled about the same distance.
Ino noted there were no reports of damage to vessels at sea, but the defense ministry is still analyzing the details and investigating what kind of missiles were launched, including the possibility they were submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance and vigilance and maintained a full readiness posture while closely cooperating with the US, the country’s joint chiefs of staff said.
Sunday marks North Korea’s 25th missile launch this year, which includes both ballistic and cruise missiles. The last launch occurred Thursday when North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, the latest in a spate of launches in the past two weeks.
Japan’s Coast Guard instructed vessels to pay attention to information and to not approach any objects that have fallen into the sea. It also asked vessels to report any relevant information.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff on Saturday “strongly condemned” the launches, calling them a “serious provocation” that harms peace and safety, it said in a text sent to reporters.
“North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launch is a serious provocation that harms peace and safety of the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community, and it is also a clear violation of the UNSC resolution,” the joint chiefs said, condemning and urging the North to immediately stop such actions of testing missiles.
The joint chiefs reported the missiles launched early Sunday morning had a flight range of about 350 kilometers and an altitude of about 90 kilometers.
South Korean military will continue to maintain a “firm readiness posture” while tracking and monitoring related movements under close cooperation with the US, the joint chiefs added.