North Korea fires ballistic missile into Sea of Japan
North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, according to Yonhap news agency, the latest launch by Seoul and Washington in their biggest joint military exercise in five years.
“North Korea is firing a ballistic missile toward the East Sea,” said the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul, quoted by Yonhap, in reference to the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.
Seoul has been holding military drills with Washington since Monday, unprecedented in five years, aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two allies in the face of the nuclear threat posed by the North. Called the “Freedom Shield”, they were supposed to last for ten days.
These drills enrage Pyongyang, which sees them as rehearsals for invasions of its territory and regularly promises a “forceful” response.
Pyongyang on Thursday fired its most powerful missile, the Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), ahead of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Japan.
The two neighbors resumed language at the highest level and decided to present a united front against North Korean aggression.
This was the second ICBM test conducted by Pyongyang this year.
North Korean state media then called it a response to “frenetic” military exercises by South Korea and the United States.
Last year, North Korea declared its status as a nuclear power “irrevocable”, with its leader Kim Jong Un calling for an “exponential” increase in its military arsenal, including tactical nuclear weapons.