Seoul, South Korea — Neighbors said North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile toward the eastern seaboard on Wednesday, two days after North Korea threatened “shocking” consequences in protest over what it called provocative US surveillance activities near its territory.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the South Korean military detected a long-range missile launch from the North Korean capital area at around 10 a.m. It said the South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance posture and maintained its readiness to closely coordinate with the United States.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that North Korea’s missile was likely to be launched in an inclined trajectory, at a steep angle that North Korea often uses to avoid neighbors when testing long-range missiles. distant.
Hamada said the missile was expected to land in waters about 550 kilometers east of the Korean peninsula’s coast, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea’s Long-Range Missile Program Targets the U.S. mainland Since 2017, North Korea has carried out a series of intercontinental ballistic missile launches as part of its drive to acquire nuclear-tipped weapons. capable of attacking major American cities. Some experts say North Korea still has some technology to master in order to have nuclear-armed ICBMs that work.
Before Wednesday’s launch, North Korea’s most recent long-range missile test took place in April, when the country launched a solid-fuel ICBM, a weapon that experts say is difficult to detect and hit. intercept than liquid fuel weapons.
Wednesday’s launch, North Korea’s first weapons launch in about a month, came after North Korea earlier this week released a series of statements accusing the United States of sending a military plane close to North Korea to North Korean spy.
The United States and South Korea have denied North Korea’s accusations and called on it to refrain from any hostile actions or words.
In a statement Monday night, Kim Yo Jong, the influential younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, warned the United States of “a shocking incident” when she claimed that the The US has flown over North Korea’s eastern exclusive economic zone eight times before. during the day. She confirmed that the North sent fighter jets to chase the US aircraft.
In another scathing statement on Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong said the US military would undergo “a very important flight” if it continued its illegal, aerial reconnaissance activities. Particularly, the North Korean military threatened to shoot down the US spy plane.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “Kim Yo-jong’s belligerent statements against US surveillance aircraft are part of a model of North Korea that exaggerates threats from externally to garner support at home and justify weapons tests.” “Pyongyang also considers a show of force to disrupt what it sees as diplomatic coordination against it, in this case the meeting of the leaders of South Korea and Japan during the summit.” NATO.”
North Korea has made many similar threats against alleged US spying activities, but its latest statements come amid growing hostility over a series of missile tests. North Korean fire earlier this year.
Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.