North Korea fires missile into sea during US-South Korea exercises WGN Radio 720

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile into the sea on Sunday, its neighbors said, stepping up testing activities in response to ongoing U.S.-South Korea military exercises and deterring a possible invasion. I see it as a rehearsal.

North Korea’s continued missile tests signaled its resolve not to back down despite the largest U.S.-South Korea military exercises in years. But many experts said the test was also part of North Korea’s larger objectives to expand its arsenal, gain global recognition as a nuclear power and lift international sanctions. I’m here.

According to South Korean and Japanese assessments, the missile, launched from North Korea’s northwest Tongchanri region, traversed North Korea before landing in waters off the east coast. They said the missile traveled a distance of about 800 kilometers (500 miles). This suggests that the weapon may target South Korea.

Key nuclear representatives from South Korea, Japan and the United States discussed the launch over the phone, denouncing it as a provocation that threatens peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region. The Seoul Foreign Ministry said the two sides agreed to step up coordination to take a decisive international response to North Korea’s actions.

The South Korean military said it would intensify its remaining joint exercises with the United States and maintain a readiness to respond “overwhelmingly” to any North Korean provocations. As part of the exercise, the United States flew long-range B-1B bombers for joint training with South Korean fighters on Sunday, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.

North Korea is very sensitive to deploying the B-1B, which can carry a huge conventional weapons payload. In response to her B-1B flight in February, she test-launched a missile demonstrating its potential range to hit several South Korean air bases.

Japan’s Senior Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said the missile landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and there were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft. He said the missile likely exhibited an irregular trajectory, referring to North Korea’s highly maneuverable and nuclear-capable KN-23 missile modeled after Russia’s Iskandar missile. said it was possible.

US Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launch poses no immediate threat to US territory or its allies. But North Korea’s recent launches have highlighted the destabilizing impact of “its illicit” weapons program, and said U.S. security commitments to South Korea and Japan remain “impregnable.” .

The launch was North Korea’s third weapons test since US and South Korean forces began joint military exercises last Monday. The training, which includes computer simulations and field exercises, is scheduled to continue through Thursday. Field exercises are the biggest since 2018.

Weapons recently tested by North Korea include the Hwasong-17, a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile designed to hit the U.S. mainland. North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong-un said the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile was intended to “fear the enemy”.

Thursday’s launch was North Korea’s first ICBM launch in a month and drew strong protests from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington. It came just hours before South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol flew to Tokyo to watch a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

During the summit, Yun and Kishida agreed to resume defense dialogue and further strengthen security cooperation with the United States to counter North Korea and address other challenges.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have suffered a major setback in recent years due to problems stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

However, North Korea’s record-breaking missile test run last year (which launched more than 70 missiles in 2022 alone) has prompted South Korea and Japan to seek a stronger trilateral security partnership that includes Washington. became. North Korean nuclear threat.

North Korea has missiles and keeps Japan within range. Last October, North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile into northern Japan, issuing an evacuation alert for communities and halting trains.

After Sunday’s launch, Kishida ordered a swift response, including close cooperation with South Korea and the United States, according to Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Ino.

The day before the training began, North Korea also launched a cruise missile from a submarine. North Korea’s state media said the submarine-launched missiles signaled its determination to respond with “overwhelming force” to an intensifying military action by “US imperialists and South Korean puppet forces.”

According to South Korean media reports, the United States and South Korea are planning further exercises involving a U.S. aircraft carrier later this month after the current exercises are over. This suggests that hostilities on the Korean Peninsula could continue for several more weeks.


Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report. North Korea fires missile into sea during US-South Korea exercises WGN Radio 720

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