SEOUL, March 19 (Reuters) – North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile at sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, according to South Korea and Japan. armed state.
The missile, launched from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast at around 11:05 a.m. (0205 GMT), traveled some 800 km (500 miles) before hitting a target, according to a South Korean military statement. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said the missile flew up to 50 km (30 miles).
Seoul has condemned recent ballistic missile launches by the North as a “clear violation” of a UN Security Council resolution.
Shortly after the launch, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the United States had deployed a B-1B strategic bomber in a joint air exercise, which Seoul and Washington say they are holding to bolster extended deterrence. .
The launches also drew criticism from Tokyo and Washington.
“North Korea’s behavior threatens international peace and security and is unacceptable,” Japan’s Defense Minister Toshiro Ino told a press conference, adding that Japan had strongly protested. via the North Korean Embassy in Beijing.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s launch posed no immediate threat to US personnel or its allies. But recent missile launches highlight the destabilizing impact of Pyongyang’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, he said in a statement.
The North fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president was due to travel to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the North.
Pyongyang said Thursday’s ICBM launch was a warning against U.S.-South Korean military drills, state media KCNA reported.
South Korean and US forces launched the 11-day drills, dubbed “Freedom Shield 23”, a week ago on a scale not seen since 2017.
North Korea also criticized the United States and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, KCNA reported later in the day, for discussing its human rights abuses during a recent informal meeting. of the United Nations Security Council, describing the decision as a “serious challenge” to its sovereignty.
“The United States has launched a ‘human rights’ campaign against the DPRK in the UN arena while staging the aggressive joint military exercise which poses a grave threat to our national security,” said the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the UN, quoted by the official media. .
Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Additional reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, William Mallard and Lincoln Feast
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.