SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – North Korea yesterday fired a ballistic missile into the sea, according to its neighbours’ militaries, extending Pyongyang’s streak of weapons tests this year amid a prolonged freeze in nuclear negotiations with the United States (US).
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile fired from an area near the North Korean capital flew about 270 kilometres eastward at a maximum altitude of 560 kilometres before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. It said US and South Korean intelligence officials were closely analysing the launch.
The launch was North Korea’s ninth round of weapons tests in 2022 as it continues to use a pause in diplomacy to expand its military capabilities while attempting to pressure the Biden administration for concessions.
The flight details roughly matched an earlier assessment by the Japanese military and were similar to North Korea’s previous launch last Sunday that was also conducted from the Sunan area near Pyongyang.
North Korean state media said last week’s launch was designed to test a camera system it plans to install on a spy satellite that is under development.
“The missile was fired just as the international community is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while also in the middle of the Beijing Paralympics,” said Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi. He cancelled an appearance at a military academy graduation to respond to the launch, calling it “absolutely unacceptable”.