South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) into waters off its east coast on Sunday, in a move Japan called “unprecedented”.
The missiles were launched from multiple locations in North Korea into waters east of the Korean Peninsula between 9:08 a.m. and 9:43 a.m. local time in Seoul on Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The missiles constitute the 17th launch by North Korea this year. the last, on May 25This came as US President Joe Biden concluded his trip to Asia and returned to the United States.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the eight missiles had traveled distances of 110 to 670 kilometers (68 to 416 miles) at altitudes of 25 to 90 kilometers (15 to 55 miles) and at speeds of Mach 3 to Mach 6.
It was launched from four locations in North Korea: Sunan District in the capital, Pyongyang, Kecheon in South Pyongan Province, Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan Province, and Hamheung in South Hamgyong Province.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that “North Korea’s continued firing of ballistic missiles is a serious provocation that harms peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also the international community,” condemning and urging North Korea to “immediately stop” such actions.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly protested North Korea’s multiple missile launch, telling reporters that it was a clear violation of United Nations resolutions.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kiichi described the launch as “unprecedented” and confirmed that at least six, and possibly more, missiles fired by North Korea were estimated to have fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The very large number of launches from at least three locations in a short period of time is unprecedented,” he said, adding that missile launches that threaten international peace and security cannot be tolerated.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, six of the missiles reached a maximum altitude of 50 to 100 kilometers (31 to 62 miles), and traveled 300 to 400 kilometers (186 to 249 miles).
Kishi said Japan has formally protested North Korea’s recent actions through diplomatic channels with Beijing.
In response to the launch on Sunday, South Korean National Security Chief Kim Sung-han held a National Security Council Standing Committee meeting and described North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches as a “challenge to the security situation” of the new government, the presidential office said.
Sunday’s launch is North Korea’s third missile test since new South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol took office on May 10.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Won In-chul and Supreme Commander of the ROK-US Joint Forces Paul LaCamera also held a virtual meeting and reaffirmed their joint defense capability to detect and intercept North Korean missiles immediately.
The launch comes a day after the South Korean and US navies concluded a three-day joint exercise in the waters off Japan’s Okinawa, the South Korean military confirmed to CNN.
In a press release, the US Navy said it has deployed the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan alongside the aircraft carrier Strike Group 5.
The US Navy said the drill, the South Korean Navy’s amphibious assault ship “Marado”, “Sejong the Great”, also took part in the exercise.
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