North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the Munchon area of Kangwon province toward waters off the peninsula’s east coast, the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters on Sunday. South Koreans.
The missiles were launched between 1:47 a.m. and 1:53 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to Japan’s Defense Minister Toshiro Ino.
Both missiles fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Ino added.
The first missile is estimated to have traveled about 350 kilometers, or 217 miles, at a peak altitude of about 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, according to Ino. The second traveled about the same distance.
Ino noted that there were no reports of damage to ships at sea, but the Ministry of Defense is still analyzing the details and investigating the type of missiles that were launched, including the possibility that it was are ballistic missiles launched by submarines.
South Korea’s military has stepped up surveillance and vigilance and maintained a full readiness posture while cooperating closely with the United States, the country’s chiefs of staff said.
Sunday marks North Korea’s 25th missile launch this year, according to CNN’s tally, which includes both ballistic and cruise missiles. The latest launch came on Thursday when North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, the latest in a string of launches over the past two weeks.
The Japanese Coast Guard asked ships to pay attention to information and not approach any objects that have fallen overboard. It also asked ships to report any relevant information.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff on Saturday “strongly condemned” the launches, calling them a “serious provocation” that undermines peace and security, he said in a text sent to reporters. .
“North Korea’s repeated launching of ballistic missiles is a serious provocation that harms the peace and security of the Korean peninsula as well as the international community, and it is also a flagrant violation of the UNSC resolution “the joint chiefs said, condemning and urging the North to immediately stop such missile testing actions.
Chiefs of staff said the missiles launched early Sunday morning had a flight range of about 350 kilometers and an altitude of about 90 kilometers.
The South Korean military will continue to maintain a “firm readiness posture” while tracking and monitoring related movements in close cooperation with the United States, the joint chiefs added.
On Tuesday, North Korea fired another missile, without warning, which flew over and over Japan, causing Japan to warn its citizens to take cover.
The missile on Tuesday flew over northern Japan early in the morning and is believed to have landed in the Pacific Ocean. The last time North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan was in 2017.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said on Saturday that the latest launches “do not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies.”
“We are aware of both ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the command said in a statement. “The launch of the missile highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs. American commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain rock solid. »
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that if North Korea continues “on this path” of provocation after its ballistic missile launch on Tuesday, “it will only increase condemnation, increase isolation and increase measures.” that are taken in response to their actions”.
The United States imposed new sanctions on Friday, following recent North Korean ballistic missile tests, the US Treasury and State Department said.
North Korea typically fires its missiles in waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, making Tuesday’s flight over Japan considerably more provocative.
The aggressive ramping up of weapons testing has raised alarm in the region, with the United States, South Korea and Japan responding with joint missile launches and military drills. The United States has also redeployed an aircraft carrier to waters near the peninsula, a move South Korean authorities have called “highly unusual”.
Japan issued a strong protest against North Korea through its embassy in Beijing, Ino said.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement on Saturday that its Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted several days of joint exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and the South Korean Navy in waters between the two countries.
“Our commitment to regional security and the defense of our allies and partners is demonstrated by our flexibility and adaptability to move this strike group to where it is needed,” said Task Force Commander Rear Admiral Michael Donnelly. 70/Carrier Strike Group 5. .