SEOUL, March 19 (Reuters) – North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, South Korea and Japan said, in the latest in a series of tests. for the core group. -State armed since the beginning of this year.
The missile, launched from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast at around 11:05 a.m. (0205 GMT), flew about 800 km (500 miles) before hitting a target, a South Korean military statement said. South. Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew at a height of 50 km (30 miles).
Shortly after the launch on Sunday, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the United States deployed a B-1B strategic bomber in a joint aerial drill, which Seoul and Washington say they are holding to strengthen deterrence.
The bomber’s deployment was planned in advance and is not related to North Korea’s latest launch, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing the military.
Japan and the US also held joint air and sea military exercises over the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan for the third day in a row on Sunday, local Japanese media reported.
Seoul has condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile launches as a “clear violation” of a UN Security Council resolution.
In a statement on Sunday, the G7 foreign ministers said they “deeply regret” the inaction of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against the North caused by “obstruction” by some members.
No country was named, but China and Russia have blocked attempts at the United Nations to respond to North Korea’s series of missile tests.
‘UNACCEPTABLE’ THREAT TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE
The launches have drawn criticism from Tokyo and Washington, as well as Seoul.
“North Korea’s behavior threatens international peace and security and is unacceptable,” Japan’s Minister of State for Defense Toshiro Ino told a news conference, adding that Japan had strongly protested through the embassy. of North Korea in Beijing.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s launch posed no immediate threat to US personnel or their allies. But the missile launches highlight the destabilizing impact of Pyongyang’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, he said in a statement.
North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday (intercontinental ballistic missile intercontinental ballistic) in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, hours before the South Korean president flew to Tokyo for a summit that discussed ways to counter the North.
Pyongyang said Thursday’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch was a warning against US and South Korean military exercises, state media KCNA reported.
South Korean and US forces began 11 days of drillsdubbed “Freedom Shield 23”, a week ago on a scale not seen since 2017.
North Korea criticized the United States and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, KCNA reported on Sunday, for raising the issue of its human rights abuses at an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council, describing it as a “serious challenge” to their sovereignty.
“The United States launched a human rights campaign against the DPRK in the UN arena while organizing the aggressive joint military exercise that poses a serious threat to our national security,” North Korea’s Permanent Mission to the UN was quoted as saying. state media.
Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Additional reporting by Kevin Buckland, Mariko Katsumura; Edited by Jacqueline Wong, William Mallard, Lincoln Feast, and Barbara Lewis
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