North Korea may have fired a few inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland Monday morning, South Korea’s military said after it spotted an unidentified projectile landing in the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.
Nuclear-armed North Korea launched four ballistic missiles on Monday in another challenge to President Donald Trump, with three landing provocatively close to America’s ally Japan.
Seoul and Washington began annual joint military exercises last week that always infuriate Pyongyang, with the North’s military warning of “merciless nuclear counter-action”.
These apparent missiles was launched from a known long-range missile site at 7:36 a.m. local time and flew across the country before splashing into the Sea of Japan, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message to local reporters, according to Yonhap News Agency.
According to a report from AFP, the missiles travelled about 1,000 kilometres and reached an altitude of 260 kilometres, said a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding they were unlikely to be ICBMs.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said three of the North Korean missiles came down in Tokyo’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — waters extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from its coast.
“This clearly shows North Korea has entered a new stage of threat,” Abe said in parliament
North Korea has repeatedly claimed to be working on an inter-contintental ballistic missile capable of reaching the west coast of the United States, and has been making observable progress towards this goal.
The latest provocation coincides with annual exercises between the United States and South Korea aimed at preparing for war with the North. The large-scale exercises, involving more than 320,000 troops and high-tech firepower, will last through the end of April.
North Korea denounced the exercises, which it considers a pre-text for an invasion, and warned it was ready to retaliate.
“The US seeks to convince the public that the joint military exercises are ascribable to [North Korea’s] access to nuclear weapons, but this is sophism making profound confusion of right and wrong,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported in a statement it attributed to the foreign ministry.
Source: Washington Post / AFP