North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the Munchon area of Kangwon province into the waters off the peninsula’s eastern coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters on Sunday.
The missiles were launched between 1:47 am and 1:53 am local time on Sunday, according to Japan’s Minister of State for Defense Toshiro Ino.
Both missiles fell outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Ino added.
The first missile is estimated to have flown about 350 kilometers, or 217 miles, at a maximum altitude of about 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, according to Ino. The second covered approximately the same distance.
Ino said there were no reports of damage to vessels at sea, but the Defense Ministry is still working out the details and investigating what kind of missiles were launched, including the possibility that they were submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance and vigilance and maintained a fully prepared posture while cooperating closely with the US, the country’s joint chiefs of staff said.
Sunday marks North Korea’s 25th missile launch this year, according to CNN’s tally, which includes ballistic and cruise missiles. The latest launch occurred on Thursday when North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, the latest in a series of launches in the past two weeks.
The Japan Coast Guard instructed ships to pay attention to the information and not to approach any objects that have fallen into the sea. It also asked ships to report any relevant information.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff “strongly condemned” the launches on Saturday, calling them a “serious provocation” damaging to peace and security, it said in a text sent to reporters.
“North Korea’s repeated launch of ballistic missiles is a serious provocation that harms the peace and security of the Korean peninsula as well as the international community, and is also a clear violation of the Security Council resolution of the United Nations,” the joint chiefs said, condemning and urging North Korea. to immediately stop such missile test actions.
The joint chiefs reported that 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 “steadfast posture of readiness” while tracking and monitoring related movements in close cooperation with the US, the joint chiefs added.
On Tuesday, North Korea fired another missile, without warning, that flew over and past Japan, prompting Japan to warn its citizens to take shelter.
The missile on Tuesday traveled 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 at Japan was in 2017.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Saturday that the latest launches “do not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies.”
“We are aware of the two ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the command said in a statement. “The missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. United States commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain unwavering.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that if North Korea continues “down this path” of provocation after launching a ballistic missile on Tuesday, “it will only increase condemnation, increase isolation and increase steps.” that are taken in response to their actions.
The United States imposed new sanctions on Friday, following North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests, the US Treasury and State Department said.
North Korea routinely fires its missiles into the waters off the Korean Peninsula, making Tuesday’s flight over Japan considerably more provocative.
The aggressive ramp-up in weapons tests has raised alarm in the region, with the United States, South Korea and Japan responding with missile launches and joint military exercises. The United States has also redeployed an aircraft carrier to waters near the peninsula, a move South Korean officials called “highly unusual.”
Japan issued a strong protest against North Korea through its embassy in Beijing, Ino said.
The US Navy said in a statement Saturday that its Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group had conducted several days of joint drills with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the South Korean Navy in the 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 in moving this strike group to where it is needed,” said Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, commander, Task Force 70/Carrier Strike Group 5.