North Korea has launched a short-range ballistic missile towards the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, according to reports from South Korea and Japan. The missile was fired from Dongchang-ri on the west coast and traveled 800 km before hitting a target.
South Korea’s military statement condemned the launch as a “clear violation” of a U.N. Security Council resolution, while Japan’s Defense Ministry stated that the missile reached a height of 50 km. The recent missile launches have drawn criticism from Tokyo and Washington, with Japan’s state minister of defense calling North Korea’s behavior “unacceptable.”
This is not the first missile launch by North Korea in recent days, as it fired another missile suspected to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday. The launch occurred just hours before South Korea’s president traveled to Tokyo for a summit to discuss ways to counter the North. Pyongyang claimed that the ICBM launch was a warning against the U.S.-South Korea military drills, which began on a large scale a week ago.
The launches have highlighted the destabilizing impact of North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs, and the U.S. responded to Sunday’s launch by deploying a B-1B strategic bomber to a joint air drill with South Korea to strengthen extended deterrence.
North Korea has also criticized the U.S. and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for raising concerns about its human rights abuses, describing the move as a “serious challenge” to its sovereignty.