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Ballistic missile: North Korea fires ‘unidentified ballistic missile’, Seoul military says

Seoul: On Wednesday morning, North Korea has fired an "unidentified ballistic missile", Seoul's military said, a test that follows warnings from Pyongyang over a massive joint air exercise conducted by South Korea and the US.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Seoul: On Wednesday morning, North Korea has fired an “unidentified ballistic missile”, Seoul’s military said, a test that follows warnings from Pyongyang over a massive joint air exercise conducted by South Korea and the US.

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“North Korea fired unidentified ballistic missiles toward the East Sea,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan. The test follows Pyongyang’s warnings over air drills conducted by South Korea and the US. Seoul also issued air raid warnings for Ulleungdo island after the launch.

The JCS said an airstrike warning had been issued for Ulleungdo Island, which was shown on national television and asked residents to “evacuate to the nearest underground shelter”. The military said a Pyongyang missile had landed in international waters south of the northern border line, a disputed maritime boundary between the two countries.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yol called a meeting of the National Security Council over the launch, which analysts described as one of the most “offensive and threatening” in many years. Japan also confirmed the launch of suspected North Korean ballistic missiles, with Coast Guard warning ships to heed.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters: “As we look at the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, I want to hold a national security meeting as soon as possible.” Pyongyang’s latest launch comes as Seoul and Washington hold their largest joint air exercise, called “Vigilant Storm,” involving hundreds of warplanes from both sides.

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According to a report in state media on Wednesday, a high-ranking North Korean official, Pak Jong Chon, said the exercise was aggressive and provocative. Earlier, on October 9, North Korea had launched a suspected ballistic missile the launch of which was reported by the Japanese PMO. Before that, North Korea conducted its longest-ever weapons test, a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that flew over Japan and could reach the US Pacific territory of Guam and beyond, forcing the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and halt trains.

A day later, the North Korean media had said that the recent barrage of missile launches were tests of its tactical nuclear weapons to “hit and wipe out” potential South Korean and US targets as its leader Kim Jong Un signaled he would conduct more provocative tests.

“Through seven times of launching drills of the tactical nuclear operation units, the actual war capabilities of the nuclear combat forces ready to hit and wipe out the set objects at any location and any time were displayed to the full,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said adding the missile tests were in response to recent naval drills between US and South Korean forces, which involved the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan for the first time in five years.

Viewing the drills as a military threat, North Korea decided to stage “the simulation of an actual war” to check and improve its war deterrence and send a warning to its enemies, KCNA said.

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