North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Sunday, ahead of planned military drills involving South Korean and US forces, as well as a visit to the region by US Vice President Kamala Harris.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the short-range missile was launched early Sunday morning local time from the Taechon area of North Pyongan Province (JCS).
It stated that the South Korean and US militaries are maintaining a “full readiness posture” and are closely cooperating in the aftermath of the launch, which it called a “significant provocative action that harms the peace and safety of the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”
“North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile is an act of grave provocation that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The launch follows the arrival of the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in South Korea for joint exercises with South Korean forces and comes ahead of Harris’ planned visit to Seoul this week.
And, from the looks of it, the launch is meant to warn the US that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is ready in case its National Interest is jeopardized.
North Korea views UN resolutions as an infringement on its sovereign right to self-defence and space exploration and has criticized previous joint drills conducted by the US and South Korea as evidence of their hostile policies.
Russia and China have also criticized the drills, urging all parties not to take actions that will escalate tensions in the region and calling for sanctions to be eased.
Following North Korea’s unprecedented number of missile tests earlier this year, including the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time since 2017, the US and South Korea announced increased joint drills and military displays of power to deter Pyongyang.