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  • Borislav Ivanov

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan

According to South Korean military, North Korea launched at least one unidentified missile off its east coast on Wednesday.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff stated in a statement that the missile was shot into the sea east of the Korean peninsula. They then noted that it was perhaps a ballistic missile.

Credit: narvikk, iStockphoto

The alleged ballistic missile landed in the Sea of Japan, outside of Japanese territorial seas, according to Japanese media. Nobuo Kishi, Japan's defense minister, told reporters that the rocket travelled around 500 kilometers.

North Korea is prohibited by international sanctions from launching ballistic missiles, yet it does so repeatedly.

"North Korea has continuously launched missiles since last year, which is very sad," Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.

"Our military is maintaining a readiness posture in preparation for a possible subsequent launch while actively monitoring the situation in close conjunction with the US," the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The South Korean National Security Council summoned an emergency meeting, saying the launch "occurred at a time when internal and external stability is highly crucial," and urging North Korea to resume dialogue.

Japan's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the country's foreign and defense ministers will meet with their US counterparts on Friday to discuss security matters.

The launch would be North Korea's first in 2022, and it comes just days after leader Kim Jong Un promised to continue strengthening military capability at a ruling party summit last week.

International sanctions have been imposed on North Korea in response to its nuclear weapons development and ballistic missile tests.

The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Pyongyang for the first time in 2006, following the country's first nuclear test, and penalties have since been toughened in response to successive tests. The talks between North Korea and the United States to lift sanctions in return for disarmament have stagnated.

North Korea's most recent missile test was a submarine-launched ballistic missile conducted in October 2021. This followed four missile tests in October and September, including a train-launched missile and what was billed as a hypersonic warhead.

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