North Korea launches ballistic missile ahead of U.S. Vice President Harris’ visit

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SEOUL, Sept 25 (Reuters) – North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast on Sunday, after South Korean and U.S. forces planned military exercises involving an aircraft carrier and a visit by U.S. Vice President Kamara that area. Harris.

The South Korean military said it was a single-shot short-range ballistic missile that was launched from near the Taecheon area in Pyongyang’s northern province just before 7 a.m. local time and traveled about 600 kilometers (373 miles) at an altitude and speed of 60 kilometers. Mach 5.

“North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile is a serious provocation that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

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After the launch, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Seung-kyun and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Paul LaCamera discussed the situation and reiterated their readiness to respond to any threat or provocation from North Korea.

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss countermeasures, condemning the launch as an unreasonable and provocative act that clearly violated UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korean President Yoon Seol-yeol arrived in Seoul late on Saturday from a trip to the U.K., U.S. and Canada to be briefed on the launch, the South Korean presidential office said.

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that Japan estimates the missile’s maximum altitude is 50 kilometers, and the flight path may be irregular. Hamada said it was located outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and had no reports of shipping or air traffic issues.

Experts say many of the short-range missiles North Korea has tested in recent years are designed to evade missile defenses by maneuvering during flight and flying in lower, “low” orbits.

“If the launch of cruise missiles is included, this is the 19th launch, which is an unprecedented speed,” Hamada said.

“North Korea’s actions pose a threat to the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community, and it is inexcusable to do so as the Ukrainian invasion unfolds,” he said, adding that Japan had protested through the North Korean embassy. Beijing.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks to the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea’s parliament, which passed a law formally embodying its nuclear weapons policy, in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 8, 2022. This photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)).KCNA via Reuters

In a statement after the launch, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said it was aware of the launch and consulted closely with allies, while reiterating U.S. defense commitments to South Korea and Japan.

“While we assess this incident poses no immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or our allies, the missile launch underscores the devastating impact of North Korea’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”

Combined drill

The launch comes after the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in South Korea for a four-day joint exercise with South Korean troops. 26-29, ahead of Harris’ planned visit to Seoul this more

It was North Korea’s first such launch since the launch of eight short-range ballistic missiles in a single day in early June, leading the United States to call for more sanctions for violating UN Security Council resolutions.

North Korea has rejected U.N. resolutions that violate its sovereignty in self-defense and space exploration, and has criticized previous joint exercises by the United States and South Korea as evidence of its hostile policies.

The drills were also criticized by Russia and China, who called on all parties to refrain from measures that would increase tensions in the region and called for sanctions to be eased.

The United States and South Korea said they would step up joint exercises and military displays to deter Pyongyang after North Korea conducted an unprecedented missile test this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017.

“Defense drills will not prevent North Korea’s missile test,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international affairs at Ewha University in Seoul.

But he added that U.S.-South Korea security cooperation could help deter North Korean attacks and counter coercion by Pyongyang, and that allies should not let provocation deter them from the military training and exchanges needed to maintain the alliance.

North Korea may also be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday, citing South Korea’s more

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Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Additional reporting by Josh Smith and Tim Kelly; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Himani Sarkar

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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