South Korea, Japan and the United States confirm the launch Thursday morning, with the Japanese saying at least two banned ballistic missiles have been fired.
North Korea fired at least two projectiles – suspected of being banned ballistic missiles – into the sea off its east coast in a launch confirmed by the South’s military, Japan and the United States.
North Korea is banned from developing ballistic missiles under United Nations Security Council resolutions and if the launch that took place early Thursday is confirmed, it would pose a new challenge to US President Joe Biden’s efforts to s ‘engage with Pyongyang.
The Seoul Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that the “unidentified projectile” was launched into the Sea of Japan, known as the East Sea in Korea.
The JCS did not provide further details on the type of aircraft or the number of projectiles fired.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the projectiles were two ballistic missiles, which fell outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone.
Suga said he will “discuss in depth” the North Korean issue, including launches, when he visits Washington, DC next month.
Prior to Suga’s remarks, the Japanese Coast Guard warned ships not to approach any fallen objects, advising them to provide information of any debris found to authorities.
Pyongyang did rapid progress of his abilities under the leadership of leader Kim Jong Un, testing missiles capable of reaching the entire Americas as tensions mounted in 2017.
Thursday’s launch follows reports Pyongyang has tested two short-range missiles – suspected of being cruise missiles – over the weekend after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin concluded their first visit to Northeast Asia.
The Biden administration, which is revising its US policy on North Korea, played down the tests, saying it remained open to negotiations with Pyongyang.
U.S. officials confirmed to Reuters news agency that Thursday morning’s test took place but did not give details.
If the launch is confirmed to be a ballistic missile, it will be the first since Biden took office in January.
The United States and South Korea are analyzing data from the launch for additional information, the JCS said in a statement, with the presidential Blue House calling an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the launches.
The US administration’s North Korean policy review is in its “final stages” and national security advisers from Japan and South Korea are expected in the United States next week to discuss it, said. senior US officials said Wednesday.