North Korea fires unidentified ballistic missile

North Korea launched at least one unidentified ballistic missile on Saturday, the South Korean military said, ahead of joint military drills by Washington and Seoul to be held next week. “North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile towards (the) East Sea,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said, referring to the name given to the Sea of ​​Japan.

Pyongyang “fired an ICBM-class ballistic missile in an easterly direction. It flew for approximately 66 minutes,” Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed to reporters. He said the projectile had traveled a distance of around 900 km, appearing to have landed at 6:27 p.m. Japanese time.

US military maneuvers at the heart of tensions

“It seems that the ballistic missile fired by North Korea fell in Japan’s EEZ, west of Hokkaido,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also told reporters, explaining that he “gave instructions (…) inform the population and thoroughly check the security situation”. A Japanese Defense Ministry official previously said the missile was expected to land about 200 km west of Oshima Island, off the northern island of Hokkaido.

This shooting comes at a time when the two allies are preparing to conduct simulation exercises, which are to be held next week in Washington, to discuss the measures to be taken in the event of the use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang. North Korea threatened on Friday to react with “unprecedented” force to the upcoming US-South Korean maneuvers, seeing them as preparations for an armed conflict. If Washington and Seoul carry out these exercises, “they will face strong and unprecedented countermeasures (…),” a spokesman for Pyongyang’s diplomacy said in a statement.

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