North Korea reportedly launched two ballistic missiles Thursday, the second such launch in less than a week.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement that two short-range missiles had been fired from the Hamju area of South Hamgyong province toward the sea, off North Korea’s east coast, at 7:06 a.m. and 7:25 a.m. local time.
The projectiles flew about 450 kilometers (280 miles), reaching an altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles), and are believed to have been ballistic missiles launched from the ground, the statement said.
The exact type of the missiles was unclear, a senior US official told CNN earlier, citing an intelligence briefing.
Seoul’s National Security Council, which convened following news of the launch, expressed “deep concern” and said it would review the security situation on the Korean Peninsula in coordination with the United States.
The joint chiefs said the South Korean military is closely watching related movements in preparation against possible additional launches.
Commenting on the missile launch, Pentagon said the step highlights “threat of North Korea’s weapons program.”
“We are aware of North Korean missile launches this morning into the East Sea [Sea of Japan]. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. This activity highlights the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons program poses to its neighbors and the international community”, US Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson, Navy Capt. Mike Kafka said in a statement.
He also reaffirmed the US commitment to ensuring the security of South Korea and Japan.
For his part, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga denounced the launch as a “threat to the peace and security” of Japan and contrary to United Nations resolutions.
“Japan lodges its serious protest and strongly condemns,” Suga said, urging the public to be “fully ready for the contingency situation,” the Japanese PM told reporters in Tokyo.
Last weekend, North Korea carried out its first weapons test since US President Joe Biden took office, according to three US officials, launching two projectiles in a move senior administration officials downplayed as falling “on the low end of the spectrum” of provocations.
Source: CNN and Sputnik