North Korea launches missile at sea amid US-South Korea drills
North Korea has launched a short-range ballistic missile towards the sea, neighbors say, as the North steps up testing activities in response to US-South Korean military drills it sees as a rehearsal for an invasion
Seoul, South Korea — North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile towards the sea on Sunday, its neighbors said, stepping up testing activities in response to U.S.-South Korean military drills it sees as a rehearsal for an invasion.
The missile launched from North Korea’s northwest region flew over the country before landing in waters off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
He said the South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance posture and remains ready in close coordination with the United States.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said a suspected North Korean missile was launched on Sunday morning. He said the alleged weapon landed outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone. No immediate damage was reported in the area.
The launch was the North’s third round of weapons tests since the US and South Korean militaries began their joint military exercises last Monday.
The latest U.S.-South Korean exercises, which include computer simulations and field exercises, are due to continue until Thursday. The field exercises are the largest of their kind since 2018.
The North sees these U.S.-South Korean military drills as practice for launching an invasion, though Washington and Seoul have firmly said their training was defensive in nature.
Weapons North Korea has recently tested include its longer-range Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the American mainland. Northern state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the ICBM launch was intended to “sow fear in enemies”.
A day before the drills began, North Korea also fired cruise missiles from a submarine. Northern state media said the submarine-launched missile was a demonstration of its determination to respond with “overwhelming and powerful” force to the escalating military maneuvers by “US imperialists and puppet forces.” South Koreans”.
Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.