North Korea launches short-range ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan

Seoul, May 12 (EFE).- North Korea on Thursday test fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan – called the East Sea by the two Koreas – South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The South Korean military “detected the launches from the Sunan area of Pyongyang at 6:29 p.m” heading towards the East Sea, the JCS said in a statement.

Sunan is the area where the Pyongyang airport is situated and also includes the site from where the regime launched an intercontinental ballistic missiles in March, marking the first such test in five years.

Thursday’s missile launch, the 16th test since the beginning of the year, comes just five days after Pyongyang launched a submarine launched ballistic missile, and is the third launch in barely a week, after the regime approved a plan to modernize its weapons last year.

The test appears to be a clear show of force, while coming on the same day when North Korea announced the detection of its first Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, triggering uncertainty in a country which has not administered any vaccine to its population and lacks sufficient resources to tackle the disease.

The Japanese coast guard informed that the projectiles launched on Thursday had fallen in the Sea of Japan around 6.43 pm local time, in an area outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The Japanese defense ministry was collecting details about the launch, while the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the latest weapons test by North Korea.

The development comes at a time when Pyongyang – which has been completely isolated from the rest of the world due to the pandemic – is ostensibly preparing for its first nuclear test since 2017, which experts expect to take place later this month.

The President of the United States Joe Biden is set to visit Seoul next week and is expected to send a conciliatory message to the North Korean regime, which has so far ignored invitations by Seoul and Washington to resume talks that have remained stalled since the failed denuclearization summit in Hanoi in 2019. EFE


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