Conflicts & War

North Korean ballistic missile traveled 600 km before falling into sea

(Update 1: Adds details throughout, changes head and lede)

Seoul, Sep 25 (EFE).- The short-range ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Sunday morning traveled 600 kilometers at an apogee of about 60 km before falling into the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean military.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) detected the launch at 6.53 am local time (21:53 GMT Saturday) and was carried out from Taechon county in the northwest of the country.

South Korean and United States intelligence agencies are still analyzing the details of the launch.

“While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States,” the JCS said, according to the local Yonhap news agency.

The projectile fell in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to its Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

Sunday’s is Pyongyang’s first ballistic weapons launch since June, when it fired eight short-range missiles, and comes two days after the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group arrived at the South Korean port of Busan to take part in joint drills often criticized by Pyongyang as a threat.

Shortly after the launch, JCS chief Gen. Kim Seung-kyum and Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of the US-South Korea Combined Forces Command, held talks to discuss their security coordination.

“They reaffirmed that through the planned South Korea-US maritime exercise and other efforts, they would further solidify a combined defense posture against any North Korean threats and provocations,” they said, according to a statement sent to journalists and published by the local Yonhap news agency.

It strongly urged the North to immediately stop all ballistic missile tests, saying the launch is a “significant provocation that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as in the international community.”

“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the [North’s] unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs,” the command said.

The launch also coincides with the imminent arrival of US Vice President Kamala Harris, who after attending the state funeral for Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Tuesday, plans to visit South Korea at the end of next week.

This test also follows several days of reports that Pyongyang is preparing to test a new submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles.

North Korea has conducted a record number of missile tests this year after approving a weapons modernization plan in 2021 and has also toughened its nuclear posture.

In its last launch in August, the regime fired two cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea, but its use of such missiles is not punishable by UN sanctions, which correspond to ballistic missiles and their nuclear tests. EFE


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