North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan
Kim Jong-un’s regime launched a long-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, the South Korean military said in a brief statement.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) did not offer more information about this new attack, the second carried out by Pyongyang so far this year.
The Japanese Coast Guard notified the launch at 5:25 p.m. local time (8:25 GMT) citing information provided by the Ministry of Defense.
Shortly after, Japanese government sources quoted by the Kyodo agency also confirmed that it is the launch of a long-range ballistic missile.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on January 31, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. Takashi Aoyama/Pool via REUTERS/File
The suspected ballistic missile is believed to have landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
“It appears that the ballistic missile fired by North Korea fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, west of Hokkaido,” Kishida told reporters, after a Japanese defense official said the missile was expected to fall at about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of the island of Oshima, in Hokkaido, northern Japan.
North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan (AP)
The day before, North Korea threatened an “unprecedented” response to the military exercises planned for March by the South and the US, which next week will also carry out a theoretical exercise simulating a nuclear attack by the regime.
“Should the United States and South Korea carry out their already announced plan of military maneuvers that (North Korea) with just apprehension and reason regard as preparations for a war of aggression, they will face persistent and unprecedentedly strong,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by North Korean state media.
This photo released by the North Korean regime shows the country’s leader Kim Jong Un (center) and his daughter (left) in a sports competition with members of the government and the Ministry of National Defense, at a location not revealed in North Korea on February 17, 2023. (Korea Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
In the note, the ministry accused Seoul and Washington of planning more than 20 rounds of exercises, including the largest field exercises in their history. In addition, he said that the two nations are “arch-criminals who deliberately disturb” regional peace and stability.
“This predicts that the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region will once again plunge into the serious vortex of escalating tensions,” the statement said.
Although he did not specify which military exercises he was referring to, North Korea often criticizes all major operations by Washington and Seoul and usually responds with its own weapons tests.
Pyongyang carried out a record number of missile launches last year, around fifty, in many cases in response to joint maneuvers by Seoul and Washington and the deployment of strategic Pentagon assets on the peninsula.
Satellite photos also show that the Punggye-ri nuclear test center (northeast of the country) has been completely rehabilitated for almost a year and is ready to host a new atomic test.
(With information from AFP, AP and EFE)
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