posted on 10/09/2022 09:24
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea early on Sunday, according to the South Korean army, amid tensions over US-led military exercises in the region.
The South Korean Army said it “detected two short-range ballistic missiles between 1:48 am and 1:58 am (1:48 pm-1:58 pm on Saturday) fired from the Munchon region of Kangwon Province in the Sea of Japan.
The missiles “flew approximately 350 km at a height of 90 km”, the Seoul Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, calling the launch a “serious provocation”.
Pyongyang on Saturday defended its latest salvo of missile fire as a legitimate response to “American military threats” after several days of joint military exercises between South Korea, Japan and the United States.
This is the seventh missile launch in two weeks.
Japan also confirmed the launches, with its Coast Guard saying the missiles fell outside Japan’s economic exclusion zone.
Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino noted that “one of the two could have been a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)”.
Seoul reported in September that it had detected signs the North was preparing to launch an SLBM, a weapon Pyongyang tested in May.
For its part, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that it was “aware of the launch of the two ballistic missiles and is in consultation with our allies and partners”.
He further stated that the launch reflects the “destabilizing” nature of North Korea’s missile program.
Sunday’s launches are the latest in a wave that included intermediate-range ballistic missiles fired over Japan.
On Thursday, Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles, on the same day as the joint exercises in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington in the presence of a destroyer of the American aircraft carrier strike group “USS Ronald Reagan”.
South Korean forces deployed 30 fighter jets on Thursday after two North Korean military planes carried out a “formation flight north of the inter-Korean air border”.
The United States moved the aircraft carrier to waters south of South Korea as part of a broader response to the North Korean test on Tuesday.
Analysts believe Pyongyang will continue its weapons tests and are confident that the UN shutdown over the Ukraine war will prevent further sanctions.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting last week to discuss the missile launches, but at the meeting, China accused Washington of provoking the series of launches and “poisoning the regional security environment”.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for “strengthening” existing sanctions against North Korea, something China and Russia vetoed in May.