Three short-range ballistic missiles from North Korea were recently launched in the direction of the Sea of Japan. This is the latest in a year that has witnessed an unprecedented number of missile tests from an increasingly aggressive Pyongyang.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the first ballistic missile was launched on Saturday morning shortly after 8:00 am local time (23:00 GMT), followed by a second launch at roughly 08:14 am (23:14 GMT), and a third missile a minute later.
The three missiles were launched from Pyongyang’s suburbs, reaching an estimated 350 kilometres of flight time and an altitude of 100 km (62 miles) (217 miles).
According to the ministry and news agencies, the missiles landed in the Sea of Japan but outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, a body of water that stretches outward from the country’s shoreline by around 370km (200 nautical miles).
The ministry claimed that ships and aircraft near the missiles’ flight route received warning information, but “at this moment” no problems have been reported.
“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community. In addition, such ballistic tests violate relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the defence ministry declared in a report.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea verified North Korea’s missile launches and stated that their armed forces were keeping an eye on the situation. “Our military maintains a full readiness posture while closely cooperating with the US and strengthening surveillance and vigilance,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated.
The Saturday launches bring North Korea’s total for this year to approximately 70 ballistic missile launches, including eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the highest ever by the nuclear-armed Pyongyang, which has publicly proclaimed efforts to modernise its military capacity in response to what it claims is a provocation by South Korea and its main ally, the United States.