North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile, South Korea says By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the 7th enlarged plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 1, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Age

By Hyunsu Yim

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile towards the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a barrage of weapons tests from the nuclear-armed state.

The missile, which was launched from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast at around 11:05 a.m. (0205 GMT), flew some 800 km (500 miles) before hitting a target, according to a South Korean military statement.

South Korea has condemned the series of recent ballistic missile launches by the North as a “clear violation” of a U.N. Security Council resolution. The launches have also prompted criticism from Japan and the United States.

“North Korea’s behavior threatens international peace and security, and is unacceptable,” Japan’s state minister of defense Toshiro Ino said at a news conference, adding Japan had protested strongly via North Korea’s embassy in Beijing.  

In a statement, the United States Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s missile launch does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or to its allies. But the recent missile launches highlight the destabilising impact of the country’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, it added.

The North on Thursday fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, hours before South Korea’s president flew to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the North.

Pyongyang said Thursday’s launch of its ICBM was a warning against ongoing U.S.-South Korea military drills, state media KCNA reported.

South Korean and American forces kicked off 11-day joint military drills dubbed “Freedom Shield 23” early last week which have been held on a scale not seen since 2017 to counter the North’s growing threats.

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