Seoul, South Korea –fired a short-range ballistic missile at its eastern sea on Wednesday, extending a recent series of weapons demonstrations, including simulated att*cks on targets in South Korea and the US last week. Joint Seoul Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from the western city of Sukchon, north of the capital Pyongyang, and flew through the country towards the waters of the North East coast.
The forces of South Korea and Japan estimated that the missile flew about 155 to 180 miles at a maximum altitude of 18 to 30 miles. The relatively low trajectory appeared to be in line with the flight characteristics of some newer North Korean short-range weapons designed to avoid missile defense.
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the rocket had landed in waters outside the country’s exclusive economic zone. He said the intensification of North Korea’s testing activity “significantly exacerbated” regional tensions, and that Japan had protested with the North through its embassies in Beijing.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its nuclear envoy Kim Gunn held separate phone calls with his US and Japanese counterparts to discuss trilateral cooperation to counter rising North Korean weapons testing and the rising nuclear threat.
South Korean and US officials say the North may try to further increase the pressurein the coming weeks.
“We think they are ready to go. Kim just needs to give the thumbs up, ”a senior US State Department official told CBS News late last month, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jongun.
Wednesday’s launch came after North Korea fired dozens of missiles last week in an angry reaction to the massive combined US-South Korean aviation exercise that the North described as an invasion attempt.
Earlier on Wednesday, the South Korean military reported that the recovered remains of one of the North Korean rockets that flew south last week had been identified as Soviet-era anti-aircraft weapons dating back to the 1960s.
Northern Armythat its launches last week were simulations of a “merciless” strike against key South Korean and US targets such as air bases and operational command systems.
These tests were found to include ballistic missiles loaded with dispersion warheads and underground infiltration warheads for use in att*cks against enemy air bases, surface-to-air missiles designed to “destroy” enemy aircraft at various heights and distances, and strategic maneuvering missiles that fell southward. east coast of South Korea.
The North described these take-offs as an appropriate response to the joint US-South Korean Air Force Vigilant Storm exercise that ended on Saturday, which involved some 240 combat aircraft, including B-1B supersonic b*mbers and advanced F-35 fighters.
This week, the South Korean military conducted an annual command and staff exercise to strengthen crisis management and operational capabilities to deal with the growing North Korean threat. The four-day training will last until Thursday.
Wednesday’s premiere also appeared in the midst ofalthough the results of these elections nationwide were not expected to significantly alter the Biden administration’s policy towards North Korea.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that an analysis of the nearly three-meter-long wreckage recovered from the water near Korea’s eastern sea border on Sunday revealed that it is one of North Korea’s SA-5 surface-to-air missiles. The ministry said that a similar missile was used by the Russian military to conduct ground att*cks during its.
Photos posted by the South Korean military show what appears to be a distorted rocket engine and wires protruding from the rocket’s broken body, which is still attached with fins.
The missile, which was one of more than 20 fired by North Korea last Wednesday, flew towards the populated South Korean island and landed near its rivals’ tense sea border, firing alarm sirens and forcing Ulleung Islanders to evacuate.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense has “strongly” condemned North Korea’s shooting of SA-5, which it sees as a violation of the 2018 Inter-Korean military agreement to ease tensions.
Dozens of missiles fired by North Korea last week also included an ICBM that triggered evacuation warnings and stopped trains in northern Japan.
Some experts say it is possible North Korea has used an inventory of some of its older weapons to support last week’s expanded scale of launches.
The premieres contributed to North Korea’s record pace in this year’s weapons testing, as Kim uses the fragmentation caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine to accelerate weapons development and increase pressure on the United States and its regional allies.
“North Koreans would like to show their range of missile technologies through these tests, but not all launches need to reveal the latest technological advances,” said Soo Kim, a security analyst at California-based RAND.
“It may be in North Korea’s interest to keep some of its modern capabilities in reserve and to test them on appropriate occasions. Kim is playing a longer game again, so to reveal all his cards – different types of missiles the country acquired – would not work in his favor, ”she said.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since 2019 due to disputes over the lifting of US-led sanctions against the North in exchange for disarmament steps taken by the North. North Korea has so far rejected US offers for open talks, arguing that Washington must first abandon its “hostile” policy, a term the North uses mainly to refer to sanctions and military exercises between the US and South Korea.
The North also joined with Russia over the war in Ukraine while blaming the crisis on the United States, saying that the West’s “hegemonic policies” forced Russia to take military action to protect its security interests. The North, however, denied US estimates that it had shipped large shipments of artillery shells and other ammunition to Russia.
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