North Korea launches ballistic missile, says South Korean military
Seoul, South Korea
North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile towards waters off its east coast on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The missile was fired at 3:31 p.m. local time from the Sukchon area of South Pyongan province, according to the JCS. It added that the South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance and vigilance, and was closely cooperating with the United States.
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile flew about 250 kilometers (about 155 miles) “at a very low altitude of about 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) or less, and fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula.”
He added that authorities are still examining further details like the missile’s orbit, and condemned the launch as threatening “the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community.
This marks the 32nd day this year that North Korea has carried out a missile test, according to a CNN count. The tally includes both ballistic and cruise missiles.
By contrast, it conducted only four tests in 2020, and eight in 2021.
The launch comes during midterm elections in the United States, with votes still being counted as Democrats and Republicans vie for control over Congress.
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have steadily risen this year, with South Korea and the US responding to Pyongyang’s missile tests by stepping up joint drills and military exercises, as well as their own missile tests.
South Korea is also currently carrying out its own standalone drills, an annual exercise that emphasizes defense operations, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The drills are ongoing through Thursday.
On Monday, North Korean state media released images purporting to show last week’s missile launches with a warning that the so-called “reckless military hysteria” of the US and its allies was moving the peninsula towards “unstable confrontation.”
Pyongyang’s missiles and air force drills prove its “will to counter the combined air drill of the enemy,” said the report.
This is a developing story.