North Korea launches ballistic missile ahead of South Korea, US military exercises


SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast on Sunday ahead of planned military drills by South Korean and U.S. forces, including an aircraft carrier, and a visit to the region by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. did.

South Korea’s military said it was a single short-range ballistic missile launched from near the Daecheon area in North Pyongyang before 7 a.m. local time and flew about 600 km (373 miles) at an altitude of 60 km and a speed of Mach. Five.

“North Korea’s ballistic missile launch is a grave provocation that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

After the launch, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Kim Seung-gyeom and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Paul Lacamera discussed the situation and reaffirmed their readiness to respond to any threat or provocation from North Korea, he added.

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss countermeasures and condemned the launch as a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and an act of unjustified provocation.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol arrived in Seoul late Saturday after visiting the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, according to the Blue House.

Japan’s Defense Minister Hamada said Japan estimated the missile could have reached a maximum altitude of 50km and flew on an irregular trajectory. Hamada said it is outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and there have been no reported problems with shipping or air traffic.

Experts say many of the short-range missiles North Korea has tested in recent years are designed to evade missile defenses by maneuvering in flight and flying in lower, “recessed” trajectories.

“Including the cruise missile launch, this is the 19th launch, which is an unprecedented pace,” Hamada said.

“North Korea’s actions constitute a threat to the peace and security of our country, region and the international community and cannot be tolerated as the aggression against Ukraine unfolds,” Beijing said.

In a statement issued after the launch, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said it was aware of the launch and was in close consultation with allies, reaffirming U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan.

“Although we have determined that this event poses no immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing effects of North Korea’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. .”

joint drill

The launch is scheduled for Seoul this week after the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in South Korea to participate in joint exercises with the South Korean military over four days, Sept. 26-29. prior to the visit to Harris.

It was the first such launch since North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles in one day in early June, prompting the United States to demand more sanctions in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. I came to

North Korea has rejected UN resolutions as a violation of its sovereignty over self-defense and space exploration, and has criticized previous joint exercises by the United States and South Korea as evidence of its hostile policies.

The drills have also been criticized by Russia and China, which have called on all sides not to take steps to escalate tensions in the region and to ease sanctions.

After North Korea conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017, the United States and South Korea have said they will step up joint training and military deployments to deter North Korea. rice field.

“Defense exercises are not going to deter North Korea’s missile tests,” said Leif Eric Easley, a professor of international affairs at Ewha University in Seoul.

But U.S.-ROK security cooperation can help deter North Korean aggression, counter Pyongyang coercion, and provoke allies to stop conducting the military training and exchanges necessary to sustain the alliance. He added that he shouldn’t.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday that North Korea may be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), citing statements from the South Korean military.

Lee Ji Hoon