Japan, South Korea say North fired ballistic missile in latest weapons test

Seoul/Tokyo, Oct 19 (EFE).- North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, the South Korean military and the Japan government said, in the fifth weapons test by Pyongyang in less than two months.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the neighboring country launched the missile eastward near Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, around 10:20 am.

Sinpo on the northeastern coast houses a North Korean submersible development center, implying that the regime may have tested a new Pukguksong-class submarine ballistic missile.

“The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are currently conducting a thorough analysis regarding additional information,” the JCS said in a text message to reporters.

The Japanese government confirmed the latest North Korean missile launch and condemned it, saying it violated the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in the Fukushima city that the weapons test was “deeply regrettable”

Kishida, who was in northeastern Japan’s Fukushima city to kick off campaigning for the Oct. 31 general election, cut short his electioneering trip.

Yoshihiko Isozaki, a government spokesperson, told reporters that the missile launch threatened “the peace and security of Japan and the region.”

The Japanese government has called a security meeting to discuss the launch, the spokesperson said.

The official said the government also protested through diplomatic channels against North Korea.

The Japanese government reported no damage to ships and fishing boats in the area.

However, according to official statements, the exact spot where the missiles landed is not confirmed as yet.

The launch coincides with the inauguration of the international exhibition for the aerospace and defense industry in the South Korean capital.

The five-day biennial Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) comes amid heightened regional tensions after North Korea conducted a series of weapons tests in the past two months.

Avril Haines, the chief of National Intelligence in the US President Joe Biden administration, is also in Seoul to meet her South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Park Jie-won and Hiroaki Takizawa.

The three intelligence chiefs will discuss the situation on the Korean peninsula.

The series of missile tests that triggered an arms race on the tense peninsula began on Sep.12, with South Korea at one point responded with its missile launch, announcing that Seoul was developing new weapons in an arms escalation on the peninsula.

North Korea, late last month, said it test-fired a hypersonic missile that can break the sound barrier by at least five times.

The missile can fly at a low altitude and trace non-parabolic trajectories, making it a complex tactical weapon to intercept.

A brief KCNA statement did not name the new missile or where the test took place.

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