WWNC – After warning that the repositioning of a U.S. aircraft carrier close to the Korean Peninsula was escalating regional tensions, North Korea conducted two short-range ballistic missile launches on Sunday, the latest in a string of recent weapons tests.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea reported in a statement that it had observed two missile launches Sunday between 1:48 and 1:58 a.m. from the eastern coastal city of Munchon in the North. Additionally, it stated that South Korea’s military closely coordinates with the US to maintain preparedness while stepping up its monitoring posture.
Toshiro Ino, the vice minister of defense for Japan, verified the launches as well, calling Pyongyang’s testing actions “completely unacceptable” because they jeopardize both domestic and international peace and security.
According to Ino, the weapons might be ballistic missiles launched from submarines. The notion that the missiles may have been launched from the water is being considered as part of our ongoing analysis of the missile’s specifics, Ino stated.
For its opponents, North Korea’s pursuit of the capacity to launch missiles from a submarine would be a worrying development because it is more difficult to predict such launches in advance. It was thought that North Korea conducted its most recent submarine-launched missile test in May.
The missiles, according to the South Korean and Japanese forces, traveled around 350 kilometers (217 miles) and peaked at an altitude of 90 to 100 kilometers (56 to 60 miles) before crashing into the oceans off the coast of the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Separate instructions were given by the prime minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, urging officials to quickly brief the public with any test-related changes and to collect and examine all available data. His administration stated that in addition to ensuring the safety of all ships and aircraft in the waters surrounding Japan, it was also getting ready for all eventualities.
The National Security Director Kim Sung-han convened an urgent security meeting after the launches, according to South Korea’s presidential office, where participants reviewed the South’s defense readiness and talked about ways to improve collaboration with the US and Japan to counter the North’s increasing threats.
Seoul issued a warning, saying Pyongyang’s repeated provocations will degrade its economy and people’s standard of living, further isolate the country internationally, and exacerbate the “instability of the government.”
According to a statement from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, no U.S. soldiers nor territory, nor its allies, were immediately threatened by the launches. However, it claimed that the launches demonstrate “the destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s illegitimate ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs. It stated that American commitments to South Korea’s and Japan’s defense continue to be “ironclad.”
After finishing two days of naval exercises off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the United States and South Korea launched the missile, the North’s seventh round of weapons testing in the previous two weeks.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group participated in the exercises after returning to the region last week after North Korea flew a potent missile over Japan to protest the carrier group’s prior training with South Korea.
The Reagan’s redeployment was having a “considerably enormous negative splash” on regional security, the Defense Ministry of North Korea warned on Saturday. The ministry described its most recent missile launches as a “just response” to ominous military exercises between South Korea and the United States.
North Korea views joint military drills between the US and South Korea as a practice for an invasion, and it becomes more sensitive if one of the US strategic assets, like an aircraft carrier, is used in the exercise. Due to nuclear threats from the United States, North Korea has claimed that it was compelled to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Officials from the US and South Korea have reaffirmed time and time again that they have no plans to attack the North.
- Residents are urged to seek cover as a North Korean missile is launched over Japan and splashes into the water
This year, North Korea has launched more than 40 ballistic and cruise missiles in more than 20 different incidents, taking advantage of a rift in the U.N. Security Council that was exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to advance its military capabilities.