SEOUL / TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired a ballistic missile believed to be on Tuesday, the South Korean military and the Japanese Coast Guard said. -says-launch-wednesday-was-hypersonic-missile-yonhap-2022-01-05 in less than a week after the leader of the withdrawn state called for more military advancement.
It is suspected that the launch of the ballistic missile was discovered around 7:27 am (22:27 GMT) from the interior of North Korea towards the ocean along its east coast, according to a statement from the South Korean Joint Staff (JCS).
The missile appears to have fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEC), the Kyodo news agency reported, citing government sources in Tokyo.
North Korea’s nuclear-armed launches underscored Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s vow to bolster the military in the fight against an unstable international situation amid stalled talks with South Korea and the United States.
“The (South Korean) military maintains a state of readiness while closely monitoring related trends in close cooperation between (South Korea) and the United States in preparation for additional launches,” the JCS said in a statement.
South Korean and US intelligence agencies are conducting a detailed analysis for additional information, it added.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said repeated launches of North Korean missiles were “very sad”.
Last week, South Korean military officials cast doubt on the “hypersonic missile” capability North Korea said it was test-fired on Wednesday, saying it appeared to be limited progress over Pyongyang’s existing ballistic missiles.
The apparent launch on Tuesday came a day after the United States mission to the United Nations, joined by France, Ireland, Japan, the United Kingdom and Albania, issued a joint statement condemning last week’s test.
“These actions increase the risk of misjudgment and escalation and pose a significant threat to regional stability,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement Monday. Such tests not only improve the North’s capabilities, but also expand what it can offer customers and traffickers of illegal weapons around the world, she added.
“(North Korea) is making these military investments at the expense of the welfare of the North Korean people,” she said.
UN Security Council resolutions ban all North Korean ballistic missiles and nuclear tests and have imposed sanctions over the program.
Thomas-Greenfield reiterated calls for countries around the world to implement sanctions and North Korea to return to negotiations and give up its missiles and nuclear weapons.
“Our goal remains the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” she said.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s launch.
North Korea has said it is open to talks, but only if the United States and others give up “hostile policies” such as sanctions and military exercises.
Few observers expect Kim to ever fully surrender her nuclear arsenal. North Korea claims its missile tests and other military activities are self-defense and similar to those regularly undertaken by other nations.