North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast, says South Korea

Launch also confirmed by Japan’s Coast Guard who say it appears to be a ballistic projectile

Arpan Rai
Monday 22 April 2024 08:36 BST
File: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, walks by a missile launcher
File: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, walks by a missile launcher (AP)

North Korea has fired several ballistic missiles in the waters off the eastern coast, South Korea’s military said on Monday.

South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said the launches of the suspected several short-range ballistic missiles took place on Monday afternoon.

The missiles were fired from near North Korean capital Pyongyang, the South Korean JCS said, without providing more details.

The launch was also confirmed by Japan’s Coast Guard who said the missile fired appeared to be a ballistic projectile. The missile reportedly landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone area, according to the NHK broadcaster.

It is likely a short-range ballistic missile, a Japanese government official concurred, reported Japan’s NTV broadcaster.

Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida issued a statement over the firing of the missile, asking for safety of all aircraft, vessels and other assets. “Dedicate maximum effort to gather and analyse information and provide the public speedy and adequate information,” the Japanese leader said, issuing a protocol statement.

It is not immediately clear how far the missile flew.

The launch on Monday is the latest in a series of missile tests by North Korea in recent months.

The latest launch comes as regional tensions in the Korean peninsula have spiked again this week with South Korean top military officer Admiral Kim Myung-soo hosting the commander of US Space Command, General Stephen Whiting, on Monday.

Both military leaders are likely to discuss the North’s reconnaissance satellite development and growing military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, in what could provoke the Kin Jong-un’s regime.

North Korea has been suspected of supplying arms and munitions to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine after Mr Kim met Russian president Vladimir Putin in September last year.

Officials in Washington suspect that the North is believed to be preparing to launch another spy satellite, after successfully putting a reconnaissance satellite in orbit in November.

North Korea said last week that it had fired a strategic cruise missile to test a large warhead, and a new anti-aircraft missile.

Earlier in April, the North fired a new hypersonic missile as part of its development of solid-fuelled missiles for all ranges of its arsenal.

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