While US-South Korea exercises continue, North Korea launches a ballistic missile

While US-South Korea exercises continue, North Korea launches a ballistic missile

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea said on Sunday that North Korea has launched a short-range ballistic missile in the direction of the Sea of Japan.

It said that their military is "maintaining a full readiness posture in close collaboration with the United States," adding that one short-range ballistic missile was launched from the Tongchang-ri region in North Pyongan province at 11:05 am (0205 GMT).

This week has witnessed a flurry of missile testing, with the launch being the most recent.

Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, announced the launch on Twitter, stating that "North Korea has fired a suspected ballistic missile."

The projectile, which may have been a ballistic missile, had already fallen, according to the Japanese Coast Guard. According to Japan's defence ministry, the missile had an 800 km range and flew at a height of 50 km.

There were no immediate updates on the missile firing. If verified, the launch would mark the North's third round of missile tests since joint military rehearsals between the US and South Korean troops started last week.

On Thursday, Pyongyang allegedly launched an intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, had just flown to Tokyo for a conference to explore strategies to deal with the nuclear-armed country. Tuesday saw North Korea test-firing two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine before that.

"Freedom Shield 23" is an 11-day joint military exercise being conducted by US and South Korean soldiers. Such manoeuvres are often seen as invasion rehearsals in Pyongyang.

global reaction

Recent North Korean ballistic missile launches were denounced by South Korea as a "clear breach" of a Security Council resolution. They have drawn condemnation from the US and Japan as well.

"North Korea's actions affects world peace and security, and is unacceptable," Japan's state minister of defence Toshiro Ino said during a press conference.

In a statement, the US Indo-Pacific Command noted that although Sunday's launch did not immediately endanger American soldiers or its allies, it does demonstrate the destabilising effects of the country's illegal WMD and ballistic missile programmes.