North Korea fires ballistic missile towards East Sea: Seoul, Tokyo

South Korean military says missile was launched eastward from site in Southern Hamgyong province

ISTANBUL (AA) – North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile into waters near Japan’s coast to the East Sea, both Tokyo and South Korea said in separate statements.

Following the eighth known such test by the sanctions-hit nation this year, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missile was launched eastward from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo in the Southern Hamgyong province, the Seoul-based Yonhap News reported.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also confirmed that Pyongyang had “fired two ballistic missiles with no reports of casualties or damage.”

His government spokesman added that the missiles “appear to have already splashed down and ships in the area have been told to be on the alert,” Japan’s Kyodo News reported.

The missile fire comes amid preparations for a trilateral meeting between the US, South Korea, and Japan to resume dialogue with Pyongyang, including dispatching humanitarian aid to the country of around 25 million people.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un once again criticized the US and said his country would increase its military capabilities to counter “hostile forces.”

Speaking at a defense development exhibition, Kim said North Korea’s efforts to boost its defense capabilities did not aim at war against Washington or Seoul.

“The US has been frequently signaling that it’s not hostile to our country, but there has been no behavioral ground to believe that it is not,” Kim had remarked.

Washington’s envoy on North Korea is also planning to visit Seoul later this week.

Without giving details, the South Korean military said the missile launch on Tuesday was detected at around 10.17 a.m. local time (0117GMT).

“The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are currently conducting a thorough analysis regarding additional information,” the JCS said.

Last month, North Korea had fired a hypersonic missile, called the Hwasong-8.


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