Home / World News / North korea test-fires missile into sea: South

North korea test-fires missile into sea: South

North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile towards its eastern seas, extending a provocative streak in weapons testing as a US aircraft carrier visits South Korea for joint military exercises in response to the North’s growing nuclear threat.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile launched on Sunday from the western inland town of Taechon flew 600 kilometres cross-country on a maximum altitude of 60km before landing in waters off North Korea’s eastern coast.

South Korea’s military condemned North Korea’s launch as a “serious provocation” that violates UN Security Council resolutions and “damages the peace and safety” of the region and the broader international community.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the launch did not pose an “immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies” but still highlighted the destabilising impact of North Korea’s illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs.

North Korea has dialled up its testing activities to a record pace in 2022, testing more than 30 ballistic weapons, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a prolonged stalemate in nuclear diplomacy.

The launch came as the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group arrived in South Korea for the two countries’ joint military exercises that aim to show their strength against growing North Korean threats.

In a discussion over the launch on Sunday, South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff chair General Kim Seung-kyum and General Paul LaCamera, an American general who heads the South Korea-US combined forces command in Seoul, reaffirmed plans to bolster the allies’ joint defences posture through training, according to South Korea’s military.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement Tokyo is “doing its utmost” to gather information on North Korea’s launch and confirm the safety of ships and aircraft, although there were no immediate reports of damages.

The North Korean threat is also expected to be a key agenda when US Vice President Kamala Harris visits South Korea next week after attending the state funeral in Tokyo of slain former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has punctuated his weapons tests with repeated threats that the North would proactively use its nuclear weapons when threatened, increasing security concerns for its conventionally armed rival South Korea.

North Korea has so far rejected US and South Korean calls to return to nuclear diplomacy, which have been stalled since 2019 over disagreements in exchanging the release of US-led sanctions against the North and the North’s disarmament steps.

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