For the fourth time in a week, Pyongyang continues its show of force. North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday as Seoul and Washington held their largest joint military exercises in five years.
“Our army detected a short-range ballistic missile at 11:05 am fired from near the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan Province (Northwest) towards the Baltic Sea,” the Joint Staff said, referring to its Korean name. . of the Sea of Japan. “Our military is on full alert, working closely with the United States,” he added. Japan’s foreign ministry, for its part, tweeted that “a ballistic missile (may have been) launched from North Korea,” and the Coast Guard added that it “appears to have already fallen.”
Bringing Seoul and Tokyo closer together
Since Monday, Seoul has been conducting its most significant military maneuvers with Washington in five years to strengthen their cooperation in the face of the growing threat from the north. They are called “Freedom Shield” and last until March 23. These exercises infuriate Pyongyang, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory and regularly promises an “overwhelming” response. They are approaching “an unforgivable red line,” North Korea’s official agency KCNA had said of them on Saturday.
The new launch on Sunday comes after Pyongyang fired off its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the most powerful in its arsenal, on Thursday in the presence of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter, and ahead of a visit to Japan by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. 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.
It was Pyongyang’s second ICBM test this year. The KCNA agency then described it as a response to “frenzied” military exercises by South Korea and the United States. This shooting itself took place after Tuesday’s launch of two short-range ballistic missiles and that, on March 12, of two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine.