HomeTop StoriesNorth Korea fires suspected long-range ballistic missile, says South

North Korea fires suspected long-range ballistic missile, says South

Seoul, South Korea

North Korea has fired what appears to be a long-range missile from the Pyongyang area into waters off the east coast, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said Wednesday, marking a possible new confrontation with Seoul and Washington.

Japan’s Coast Guard said the missile launched at 9:59 a.m. local time and fell into the Sea of ​​Japan, also known as the Baltic Sea, at 11:15 a.m., citing the defense ministry. It warned ships in the fall area to be careful and watch for further information.

The flight time, if confirmed, would be similar to that of North Korean missiles tested in March and April this year. Both were from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), weapons with the range to hit the continental United States.

Wednesday’s launch comes after Pyongyang earlier this week threatened to shoot down US military reconnaissance aircraft flying over nearby waters in the Baltic Sea.

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Kim Yo Jong, a senior North Korean official and sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, accused a US spy plane of entering the north’s exclusive economic zone at least eight times on Monday, according to a statement Tuesday from the North. -Korean state news agency KCNA. .

“In the event of repeated illegal intrusion, US forces will experience a very critical flight,” Kim warned in the statement.

The missile launch and fiery rhetoric, while not unusual for Pyongyang, come amid heightened tensions as Washington and Seoul step up defense cooperation and the leaders of South Korea, Japan and the United States are in Lithuania for a NATO summit, where North Korea was on the agenda.

A communique from the NATO meeting on Tuesday urged North Korea to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, which violate United Nations Security Council resolutions banning them.

“We call on (North Korea) to accept the repeated offers of dialogue from all parties involved, including Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea,” the statement said.

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But North Korea has shown no signs of being willing to enter into negotiations with Washington or Seoul.

“Kim Yo Jong’s bellicose statement to U.S. surveillance planes is part of a North Korean pattern of blowing up external threats to rally domestic support and justify weapons testing,” said Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha. Woman’s University in Seoul.

“Pyongyang is also using its show of force to disrupt what it perceives as diplomatic coordination against the country, in this case the leaders of South Korea and Japan meeting at the NATO summit,” Easley said.

Last month, tens of thousands of North Koreans marched in anti-American demonstrations in Pyongyang, marking the 73rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. The participants denounced the US as a “destroyer of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula” and warned of nuclear war, according to KCNA.

Meanwhile, South Korea, the United States and Japan have held joint and trilateral military exercises to deter any military threat from North Korea.

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This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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