North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the Sea of ​​Japan

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday, its fourth show of force in a week, as Seoul and Washington hold major joint military exercises.

By Le Figaro with AFP


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In Seoul, television shows the launch of a missile, filmed by North Korean cameras. JUNG YEON-JE / AFP

«Our military detected a short-range ballistic missile fired from near the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province (northwest) towards the Baltic Sea at 11:05 a.m.said the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), referring to the Korean name for the Sea of ​​Japan.

US and South Korean intelligence agencies are analyzing the missile, which flew 800 kilometers, the JCS said in a statement, calling the launch “serious provocationin violation of UN sanctions. The JCS added that the military is ready to retaliate in some way”overwhelming“, while pursuing”intensive and careful military maneuvers and exercises».

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Since Monday, Seoul and Washington have been conducting their largest military maneuvers in five years, designed to strengthen their cooperation in the face of the growing threat from the north. Baptized”Freedom shield“, they should last until March 23.

ALSO READ – “Freedom Shield”, the most important military exercises between Washington and Seoul for five years

Red line

The US Army Indo-Pacific Command also condemned the shooting, underlining “the destabilizing effectof banned North Korean weapons programs. Tokyo also confirmed the shooting and condemned it “fiercelythrough his embassy in Beijing, Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino told reporters.

According to Japanese media citing anonymous government sources, the projectile appears to have fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after an irregular trajectory.

The exercises in Seoul and Washington infuriate Pyongyang, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory and regularly promises a response.”overwhelming“. She “approaching an unforgivable red line‘, the official North Korean agency KCNA had said about them on Saturday.

Maneuvers «panic»

Sunday’s launch comes a day after KCNA announced that “more than 800,000“young volunteers determined to”ruthlessly destroy the war-obsessed“joined the army to fight”the American imperialists».

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Pyongyang on Thursday fired off its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the most powerful in its arsenal, in the presence of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter, and ahead of a visit to Japan by the South Korean president Yoon Suk. Oh dear.

Cold for years due to a historic dispute, the two neighbors have resumed language at the highest level and decided to form a united front against North Korea.

Yoon also announced the reactivation of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). This pact, signed in 2016 but questioned by Seoul in 2019 due to diplomatic tensions, allows for the exchange of military information.

Thursday was Pyongyang’s second ICBM test this year, which KCNA then called a response to military exercises.panicfrom South Korea and the United States.

The firing itself came after Tuesday’s launch of two short-range ballistic missiles and, on March 12, two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine.

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READ ALSO – Resumption of the diplomatic shuttle between Japan and South Korea, after a historic summit

Experts had warned that Pyongyang would likely use the pretext of these maneuvers to fire more missiles and perhaps even conduct a nuclear test, the seventh in its history and the first since 2017.

North Korea said last year: “irreversible“his status as a nuclear power and Kim Jong-un has called for it to be raised in some way”exponential» the country’s military arsenal, including tactical nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, the leader ordered the army to step up its own maneuvers for a “real war».

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