North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into sea off the country’s east coast
Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Prime Minister, has called the launching of missiles from North Korea ‘absolutely outrageous’.
North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles towards the sea in defiance of United Nations resolutions.
It is the second weapons test within several days and experts say that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with its arms build-up plans while the nation’s nuclear diplomacy with the US remains stalled.
Meanwhile, South Korea has said that it had carried out its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test.
President Moon Jae-in’s office has said that he observed the test of a domestically built submarine-launched ballistic missile on Wednesday afternoon, which had flown a set distance before then hitting a designated target.
This comes after, while the UK had finished its withdrawal from the nation of Afghanistan the day before, the head of the Royal Air Force said to The Daily Telegraph that the UK could be involved in strikes against the Islamic State Khorasan; also known as ISIS-K.
The missiles that were launched by North Korea landed in water between the Korean peninsula and Japan, according to officials in both Seoul and Tokyo. South Korea’s military said that South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analysing more details about the launches.
“The firings threaten the peace and safety of Japan and the region and are absolutely outrageous,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.
“The government of Japan is determined to further step up our vigilance and surveillance to be prepared for any contingencies.”
Japan’s coastguard said that no ships or aircraft had reported damage from the two ballistic missiles.
The launches were a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from engaging in any kind of ballistic missile activities, but the council typically does not issue fresh sanctions on the secretive nation when it launches short-range missiles, like the two that were fired on Wednesday.
The latest launches came just two days after North Korea said that it had tested a newly created cruise missile twice over the weekend. State media had described the missile as a “strategic weapon of great significance”, implying that it was developed with the intent to be carrying nuclear warheads.
According to North Korean accounts, the ballistic missile flew around 930 miles, putting all of Japan and US military installations that are based there within reach.
Many experts say that the recent launch tests suggest North Korea is pushing to bolster its weapons arsenal while applying pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration amid the deadlock in nuclear diplomacy between both Pyongyang and Washington.
This comes after the United States military has completed its withdrawal from the nation of Afghanistan after the last of American C-17 planes has departed from the Kabul airport.
Wednesday’s missile launches came as the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi was in Seoul for meetings with Mr Moon, as well as other senior officials, in order to discuss the stalled nuclear negotiations with the North.
It is unusual for North Korea to make provocative launches when China, its last major ally and biggest aid provider, is currently engaged in a major diplomatic event.
Mr Moon’s office said the president told Mr Wang that he appreciates China’s role in the international diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea and has asked for Beijing’s continued support.
Mr Wang said Beijing will continue to support the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and improved ties between the Koreas.