North Korea Fired Three Missiles Toward East Sea, South Korean Military Says
21:18 GMT 24.05.2022 (Updated: 13:34 GMT 18.09.2023)
© AP Photo / Ahn Young-joonA TV screen shows a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on March 5, 2022
© AP Photo / Ahn Young-joon
If the launch is confirmed, it will be the 17th missile test since the start of the year by the North Korean military. Some of the launches, according to Pyongyang, were tests of supersonic missiles, as well as ICBMs.
South Korea's military said North Korea fired three unidentified ballistic missile eastward on Wednesday, according to the Yonhap news agency.
According to Japan's defense ministry, quoted in the media reports, the first missile's flight altitude was recorded at 550 km, with a range of 300 km, while the second missile reportedly reached a flight altitude of 50 km, and a range of 750 km.
Two of the three ballistic missiles landed just outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. No damage has been sustained from the launches. Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters that the missile launches were "an outright provocation and are totally unacceptable."
Yonhap has reported that South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was set to preside over a meeting of the National Security Council following the missile launches.
Alongside US counterparts, the South Korean military fired two missiles in response to North Korea's launches, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea declared shortly after the events.
According to the report, the launch came amid concerns that North Korea could perform an ICBM or nuclear test to reinforce its military presence and strengthen national unity in the face of COVID-19 outbreaks and economic hardships.
The US has indicated that it is aware of Pyongyang's launches, noting that the Biden administration is "consulting closely with our allies and partners."
"While this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launches highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program," the US Indo-Pacific Command wrote in a statement.
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the events.
In the previous launch earlier this month, a move considered by some as an attempt to diversify its nuclear delivery systems, the DPRK launched what was thought to be an ICBM and then an apparent submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The purported missile test takes place only a day after US President Joe Biden concluded an Asia trip aimed at strengthening security alliances with Seoul and Tokyo. On Sunday, while in South Korea, Biden reportedly said that he was unconcerned about North Korea conducting nuclear tests while he is in Asia because Washington is prepared for anything and will respond to Pyongyang's actions.