South Korea Reports North Korea’s Launch of Ballistic Missile Off Its East Coast

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North Korea has launched several ballistic missiles into waters off its eastern coast, South Korea’s military announced on Monday. The South Korean Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) confirmed that the suspected short-range ballistic missiles were fired Monday afternoon from near North Korean capital Pyongyang.

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The South Korean JCS provided no further details about the missiles’ trajectories or range. However, Japan’s Coast Guard also detected the launch, noting that the missile appeared to be a ballistic projectile. According to Japanese media, the projectile landed outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, released a statement following the missile launch, directing officials to ensure the safety of all aircraft and vessels. He also called for prompt information gathering and analysis to inform the public about any threats. “Dedicate maximum effort to gather and analyse information and provide the public speedy and adequate information,” said Kishida.

It remains unclear how far the missiles flew, but this incident is part of a pattern of missile tests by North Korea in recent months. The launch coincides with a visit by Admiral Kim Myung-soo, South Korea’s top military officer, and General Stephen Whiting, commander of US Space Command. Their meeting likely covered North Korea’s reconnaissance satellite development and increased military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.

Washington officials suspect that North Korea is providing arms and munitions to Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, especially after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in September. North Korea is believed to be preparing for another reconnaissance satellite launch after placing one in orbit in November.

Last week, North Korea claimed it fired a strategic cruise missile to test a large warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile. In April, North Korea launched a hypersonic missile, a part of its ongoing efforts to develop solid-fuel missiles with varying ranges for its arsenal.

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