Seoul, Mar 24 (EFE).- North Korea on Thursday launched an “unidentified projectile” toward the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
A brief statement the JCS sent to journalists said that North Korea fired an unidentified projectile, while the Japanese government said it could be a ballistic missile.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that the launch took place around 2.20 pm local time (05:20 GMT) and that the projectile would have fallen into the waters outside its exclusive economic zone.
The launch sets a record of 12 of this type carried out this year by Pyongyang, which, according to Washington and Seoul, is testing technology of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called Hwasong-17 that potentially has greater range and destructive power.
Thursday’s launch comes just three days after the regime tested a multiple rocket launcher system, firing several projectiles into the Yellow Sea, and a week after a failed launch apparently linked to the tests of the Hwasong-17.
Since February, the North Korean army has been testing a type of projectile – whose typology has not been specified – from the vicinity of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, stating that it is testing systems to launch a new reconnaissance satellite.
South Korean and United States military intelligence believe North Korea is seeking to carry out a full Hwasong-17 test soon by disguising it as a “space launch,” as it has done in the past.
At the 2021 sole party congress, the regime outlined a five-year plan for weapons modernization that is behind the current string of tests.
In turn, it has rejected US invitations for dialogue at a time when the country, which remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly not yet vaccinated a single one of its citizens, making holding high-level diplomatic face-to-face meetings very unlikely. EFE