North Korea again launched three ballistic missiles toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, the South Korean military said.The latest launch comes after an unprecedented number of missile tests conducted by North Korea this year as Pyongyang focused on weapons development amid speculations that it could test a nuclear weapon for the seventh time, reported news agency Reuters.
The three short-range ballistic missiles were fired from around 8 am local time (2300 GMT) from North Hwanghae Province, south of the capital Pyongyang, the agency quoted South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying.All three flew at an altitude of around 100 km (62 miles) and covered a range of around 350 km (217 miles), Japan’s defence ministry noted. The same was confirmed by the South Korean military as well.
Condemning the move as a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolution and urging it to stop immediately, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “North Korea’s ballistic missile(s) launch is a grave provocation that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”
US Indo-Pacific Command ruled out any immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to Washington’s allies, but highlighted the destabilising impact of North Korea’s weapons programme.
What’s the latest launch all about?
The latest launch of the ballistic missiles comes after South Korea successfully conducted a test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle.On Monday, five North Korean drones crossed into South Korea, prompting the South’s military to launch fighter jets and attack helicopters to try to shoot them down. This was the first such intrusion since 2017.
The strained relationship between North Korea and US-ally South Korea grew tenser since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s took reins in May and promised a tougher stance toward the North.So far, North Korea has fired around 70 ballistic missiles this year, Yonhap news agency said, including about eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
North Korean state media KCNA had yet to mention the launches but said on Saturday that leader Kim Jong Un had presided over a party meeting on Friday to decide policy and strategy for 2023.