Originally published on ZeroHedge
Early Sunday morning North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the governments of South Korea and Japan say, which the south’s military called a “clear violation” of the UN Security Council’s resolution, demanding that the test firings “immediately stop”.
CNN cites this fresh missile launch as the 19th this year, with the last coming on August 17, following promises from Kim Jong Un that he’ll remain undeterred in expanding his country’s “tactical capabilities”. He’s also of late teased even the possibility of a future nuclear test.
“The missile had a flight distance of about 600 kilometers (370 miles), altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles) and speed of about Mach 5, according to the JCS,” CNN reports, in reference to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The intelligence agencies of South Korea and the US are analyzing further details.”
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada issued a particularly blistering response, “If you include launches of cruise missiles this is the nineteenth launch, which is an unprecedented pace,” he said, adding: “North Korea’s action represent a threat to the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community and to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable.”
The launch seems timed as an intentional warning against a number of developments. “It’s North Korea’s way of showing defiance of the [US] alliance,” AFP cited an analyst at the Rand Corporation, Soo Kim, as saying.
First, within the past days, the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in South Korea in preparation for joint drills. These will be the first such joint drills with South Korean forces involving a US aircraft carrier since 2017.
South Korea’s navy said upon its arrival at the port of Busan on Friday that they will demonstrate “the firm resolve by the Korea-U.S. alliance for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
WATCH: USS Ronald Reagan, a U.S. aircraft carrier will visit #SouthKorea on Friday for joint drills for the first time in about four years, officials of both countries said on Monday, as the allies seek to deploy U.S. nuclear-capable “strategic assets” to deter North Korea. pic.twitter.com/vTGybiKJY0
— BNN Newsroom (@BNNBreaking) September 19, 2022
Additionally, Vice President Kamala Harris is days away from touching down in Seoul for an official visit. As the AP previewed last week, “The North Korean threat is also expected to be a key agenda when U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visits South Korea next week after attending the state funeral in Tokyo of slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”
She’s expected to arrive in Japan on Monday, with the whole of the regional trip running through September 29.
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