North Korea allegedly fires ballistic missile
North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile from Sunan Airport in Pyongyang on Wednesday, South Korea and Japan have said.
The South’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said the missile traveled 470km (292 miles) towards the Sea of Japan. The launch is “a grave threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community and clearly violates the UN Security Council resolutions,” according to the JCS.
“Our military is tracking and monitoring related movements to prepare against the possibility of an additional launch, and it is maintaining a full readiness posture,” the Korean military told reporters.
The JCS added that it is monitoring the situation for any additional launches that may occur. According to South Korean media, JCS Chairman General Won In-choul held a video conference about the alleged missile test with US Forces Korea (USFK) Commander General Paul LaCamera.
The Japanese Defense Ministry also said it detected the missile launch.
“North Korea’s recent actions, including frequent missile launches, cannot be tolerated,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, commenting on the matter during a trip to Rome. He added that the tests pose a threat to the safety of the region.
Pyongyang has not confirmed the reports of what is allegedly the 14th such test since the beginning of the year.
Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the firing of a “new-type tactical guided weapon.” At a military parade in late April, he vowed to accelerate development of nuclear weapons and use them if Pyongyang’s “fundamental interests” are violated.
The latest suspected launch comes just a week before the inauguration of South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who is known for having a more hardline stance towards the North.
In 2018 and 2019, then-US President Donald Trump and Kim held face-to-face talks aimed at denuclearization, though the discussions eventually stalled.