North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before meeting with US President Donald Trump at the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, June 30, 2019.
Brendan Smiarowski AFP | Getty Images
Neighboring countries launched long-range ballistic missiles into eastern waters on Wednesday, two days after North Korea threatened “shocking” results in protests against provocative U.S. reconnaissance activities near its territory. announced that it had been fired.
The South Korean military detected a long-range missile launch from North Korea’s metropolitan area around 10 a.m., the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. South Korea’s military has stepped up surveillance and is working closely with the United States to maintain readiness, he said.
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that the North Korean missile was likely launched on a lofted trajectory, a steep trajectory that North Korea normally uses to avoid neighbors when conducting long-range missile tests. He said it could have been fired at an angle.
Hamada said the missile was expected to land in the sea about 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of the Korean Peninsula, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea’s long-range missile program targets mainland US Since 2017, North Korea has launched a number of intercontinental ballistic missiles in an effort to acquire a nuclear-armed weapon capable of hitting major US cities. . Some experts say North Korea still has some skills to master in order to have a functioning nuclear-armed ICBM.
Ahead of Wednesday’s launch, North Korea’s latest long-range missile test took place in April, when it launched a solid-fuel ICBM. Experts say the weapon is more difficult to detect and intercept than liquid-fueled weapons.
Wednesday’s launch was North Korea’s first firing in nearly a month, with North Korea issuing a series of statements earlier this week accusing the United States of flying military planes close to it to spy on it. was done later.
The United States and South Korea have dismissed North Korea’s accusations and called on it to refrain from any actions or statements that incite hostility.
North Korean sister Kim Jong Un’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, said in a statement Monday night that US spy planes had flown over North Korea’s eastern exclusive economic zone eight times earlier. It warned the United States of “shocking events”. within the day. She claimed that North Korea scrambled fighter jets to drive off US aircraft.
In another fiery statement on Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong said there would be a “very grave danger” if the US military continued its illegal aerial espionage. North Korean forces separately threatened to shoot down a US spy plane.
Leif Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said, “Kim Yo Jong’s belligerent remarks about US spy planes exaggerate the external threat to garner domestic support and justify weapon testing. It’s part of the North Korean pattern,” he said. “North Korea is also timing its use of force to disrupt what it sees as diplomatic co-operation against North Korea, in this case the summit between South Korea and Japan at the NATO Summit.”
Pyongyang has repeatedly made similar threats over alleged U.S. spying activities, but the statement comes amid growing hostility over North Korea’s barrage of missile tests earlier this year.