North Korea has reportedly fired two ballistic missiles off the east coast on Wednesday in the direction of Japan, prompting Japan’s prime minister to condemn the act as “absolutely scandalous”, according to reports.
The latest missile launches from North Korea came several days after it reportedly tested newly developed long-range missiles over the weekend, reports said.
“The firings threaten peace and security in Japan and the region and are absolutely scandalous,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “The Government of Japan is determined to increase our vigilance and surveillance further to be prepared for any accidents.”
“The Government of Japan is determined to increase our vigilance and surveillance further to be prepared for any accidents.”
South Korea’s Yonhap News reported the latest firing, citing information from South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff who conducted an analysis of the situation, Yonhap reported.
The Associated Press originally reported that only one projectile had been fired and did not identify it as a ballistic missile, but updated its history around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, claiming, as Yonhap did, that two ballistic missiles had been fired.
Japan’s Coast Guard said both projectiles landed in international waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, the AP said.
NORTH KOREA SAYS ‘STRATEGIC’ LONG-RANGE CRUISE MISSILES HIT GOAL IN TEST
According to the AP, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement that the North Korean projectile flew towards the waters of the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Wednesday. It gave no further details.
Wednesday’s development followed reports on Monday of North Korean missile tests that took place last weekend – tests that ended a year-long break in the country’s projectile tests, the AP reported.
North Korea said Monday it was testing a newly developed cruise missile twice over the weekend. North Korea’s state media described the missile as a “strategic weapon of great importance”, which meant that it was developed with the aim of arming them with nuclear warheads.
Many experts say the North Korean test suggested that North Korea is pushing to strengthen its arsenal amid a stalemate in nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
The latest launch came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Seoul for meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and other senior officials to discuss the decommissioned nuclear diplomacy with the North.
Moon said the South Korean government plans to hold an unscheduled meeting of the National Security Council later Wednesday, the AP said.
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Negotiations between the United States and North Korea have stalled since 2019, when the Americans rejected the Nordic demands for greater sanctions against dismantling an aging nuclear power plant. The Kim government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s overtures to dialogue, demanding that Washington first abandon its “hostile” policies.
The Nordic region’s resumption of test activities is likely an attempt to pressure the Biden administration over the diplomatic freeze after Kim failed to use his arsenal for economic benefits during Donald Trump’s presidency.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.