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South Korea: North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Eastward

Photo : AP

South Korea's military reported on Monday that North Korea had launched "several" short-range ballistic missiles towards the sea off its eastern coast, sparking immediate condemnation from Seoul, deeming it a significant threat to Korean peninsula stability.

Japanese authorities, including a government alert and the coast guard, corroborated the launch, identifying the projectiles as suspected ballistic missiles. NHK broadcaster indicated that the missiles fell outside Japan's exclusive economic zone.

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea initiated the launch from a site near its capital, Pyongyang. The missiles traveled approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) before descending into the sea.

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These developments unfolded concurrently with South Korea revealing that Admiral Kim Myung-soo, its top military officer, held discussions with General Stephen Whiting, commander of U.S. Space Command. The dialogue centered on North Korea's satellite programs and its deepening military collaboration with Moscow.

Amidst suspicions of North Korea providing arms to Russia for its Ukraine conflict, both nations deny such allegations. North Korea reportedly aims to launch another spy satellite following a successful satellite deployment last November.

Recently, North Korea announced testing a strategic cruise missile and a new anti-aircraft missile. Additionally, it launched an intermediate-range hypersonic missile in April, showcasing advancements in solid-fuel missile technology under Kim Jong Un's leadership.

Professor Leif-Eric Easley of Ewha University underscored North Korea's pursuit of rapid weapon development, emphasizing its political implications for the regime's legitimacy.

Despite UN Security Council prohibitions on ballistic missile development, North Korea persists, rejecting resolutions as encroachments on its sovereignty. Last month, Russia vetoed the annual renewal of sanctions monitoring against North Korea, with the U.S. and South Korea criticizing Moscow for bolstering Pyongyang. China abstained from the vote, aligning with Russia's stance, despite previously supporting sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

April 22, 2024 4:39 p.m. 4973

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