New missile test comes amid South Korea’s drills with the United States and a summit with Japan
North Korea’s military fired another ballistic missile into the sea on Thursday toward Japan, officials said in Seoul. The third launch in five days came as South Korea continued joint military exercises with the United States, and just hours before the South Korean president was to take off for Tokyo.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile was fired from the west coast of the DPRK on Thursday morning and was expected to crash into the sea about 550 kilometers from the east coast, well outside the economic zone. exclusive claim by Japan. The South Korean military did not provide any details on the launch. Pyongyang has yet to issue an official comment.
North Korean state news agency KCNA said that Tuesday launch carried two tactical ballistic missiles, which were fired from South Hwanghae Province and hit the targets on an island in North Hamgyong Province, 611.4 kilometers away.
Sunday’s test involved the launch of two strategic cruise missiles of a submarine in Kyongpho Bay, which “precisely” hit their target in the East Sea – known in English as the Sea of Japan – after a trajectory of 1,500 kilometers. Pyongyang said the launch of the submarine was specifically intended as a show of deterrence against the U.S.-South Korea war games that began on Monday.
Dubbed “Freedom Shield”, the joint exercise is the largest of its kind in five years, and is scheduled to run until March 23. The drills involve both computer simulations and live-fire drills, one of which includes an assault “enemy” beach.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol prepared to travel to Japan for a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, where they were to discuss a security partnership with Washington. The trilateral security pact aims to counter “threats” from North Korea and China.
The potential alliance must overcome some historical trauma, however, as neither side of Korea has quite forgiven or forgotten decades of Japanese rule. Tokyo took over the peninsula as a protectorate in 1905 and annexed Korea outright in 1910. The current partition is partly the result of Japan’s surrender to the Allies in 1945.
Japan’s post-U.S. occupation government has also adopted a policy of keeping only a limited self-defense force – which Tokyo ended up repealing last December, at Washington’s urging.