North Korea fires three ballistic missiles amid tensions over drone airspace encroachment

North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles off the east coast on Saturday, the South Korean military said. South Korea’s military has criticized North Korea for ramping up its launches in 2022 amid speculation that the country may be preparing another nuclear test.

Major General Lee Seung-oh, director of South Korea operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), said at a press conference on Saturday that the launch was a “grave provocation” that undermines the peace and peace of the international community. Korean Peninsula.

“This is a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Lee said. “Therefore, we urge them to stop now.”

Around 8 a.m. local time, Seoul detected three short-range ballistic missiles fired from North Hansanhe Providence, south of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, Lee said.

JCS noted that the three missiles traveled about 220 miles before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The estimated range suggests that the tested missile could target South Korea.

The latest launch comes a day after South Korea’s defense ministry announced it had successfully conducted a test flight of a solid-propellant space rocket it plans to use to launch its first spy satellite into orbit in the next few years. will be split.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said Saturday’s launch highlighted the “destabilizing effects” of North Korea’s illegal weapons program and that US commitments to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remain ironclad.” .

Japan’s defense ministry also reported a suspected ballistic missile launch by North Korea early on Saturday.

Later on Saturday, senior diplomats from South Korea, Japan and the United States jointly condemned the North Korean launch over the phone. According to South Korea and Japan’s foreign ministry, they have agreed to strengthen deterrence against North Korea and work together to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization.

record of missile launches

North Korea’s missile tests hit a record high in 2022, with a total of about 92 ballistic and other missiles launched. At one point, in one day alone he fired 23 missiles.

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is prepared
An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is being prepared for launch in this undated photo released November 19, 2022. (North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)/via Reuters)

Since 1984, North Korea has 270 missile launches More than a quarter of those will take place in 2022, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Missile Defense Project.

These strategic weapons include tactical nuclear weapons, new intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic glide warheads, nuclear submarines and reconnaissance satellites.

drones invade airspace

Tensions between the two rival nations rose earlier this week when South Korea accused North Korea of ​​violating its airspace and flying five drones over the Military Demarcation Line (MDL).

It is the first time in more than five years that a North Korean drone has crossed the border that separates the two countries. In a retaliation move, South Korea fired warning shots and sent its first drones toward North Korea.

On Tuesday, President Yoon Seok-yeol criticized Seoul’s response after it failed to shoot down any of five North Korean drones and called for more military preparations and training.

“This incident demonstrates the substantial lack of preparation and training of our armed forces over the past few years and clearly confirms the need for more intensive preparation and training,” Yoon said at the meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From NTD News

Lorenz Duchamp

Lorenz Duchamps is a news writer for NTD, a sister publication of The Epoch Times, focused primarily on US, world and entertainment news.