North Korea has launched what is thought to be a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the projectile was launched in the eastern direction from Wonsan, from the Gangwon province, early on Monday.
“It is estimated to be a Scud type [missile],” said a statement, noting that the missile was in the air for about 450 kilometers.
“The president was immediately notified of the situation, and the president ordered the national security council meeting at 7:30 am,” the South Korean statement added.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Pyongyang’s missile test posed risk to air traffic in the region as well as ships crossing the Sea of Japan.
“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is highly problematic from the perspective of the safety of shipping and air traffic and is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he added.
While condemning the launch, he noted that the missile seemed to have fallen in the Sea of Japan within the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Japan vows action against the North
On Monday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slammed Pyongyang’s missile test, while promising an international reaction towards the North’s continued provocations.
“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” said Abe during a televised interview.
“Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea,” he said, adding that, Japan will do whatever is necessary to protect its people.
North Korea releases footage of air defense test
On Sunday, North Korean television broadcasted footage of a reported test of an anti-aircraft defense system.
Following the test, orders were issued to commence the mass construction of the system.
“This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy all over the country… so as to completely spoil the enemy’s wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty,” said the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Last week, KCNA announced that the country’s leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test-launch of a Pukguksong (Polaris)-2 ground-to-ground missile and “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action.”
The latest test came less than two weeks after the North test-fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile, which landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan on May 14.
The North, under an array of sanctions for its missile and nuclear programs, says it is developing arms as deterrence against the US threat. North Korea has also said that it would not abandon its missile and nuclear programs unless the US ended its hostility toward Pyongyang.
Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending a strike group and conducting joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.