North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan on Saturday, the fourth in less than 24 hours, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff sources.
The military analyze the range, height and speed of the rocket which, due to the time difference, it became the first to be released in 2023.
Hours earlier, the same outlet reported the launch from North Korea of three short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, with which Pyongyang closed a record year in the number of weapons tests.
Three short-range missiles launched by North Korea into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, were detected, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff reported in a statement replicated by the AFP news agency.
The projectiles, which they flew around 350 kilometers before falling into the seawere fired around 8 in the morning on Saturday (23 yesterday in Argentina) and from the Chunghwa county area, in the North Hwanghae province, near the capital Pyongyang.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency said the three fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
“Our armed forces remain in a position of maximum readiness, while cooperating with the United States and increasing vigilance”Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea
The Japanese government sent a protest against the launches to North Korea through the embassy in Beijingthe agency reported.
Military tension on the Korean peninsula increased significantly this year in the face of the record number of shots fired by North Koreawhich included its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile to date.
South Korea responded to these tests by increasing its joint military exercises with the United States or with other weapons tests, such as yesterday’s launch of a solid-fuel space rocket.
“Our armed forces remain in a position of maximum readiness, while cooperating with the United States and reinforcing surveillance,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
On Monday, the intrusion of North Korean drones, one of which went so far as to fly near Seoul, prompted the deployment of South Korean fighter jets and attack helicopters that were unable to intercept them anyway, prompting widespread criticism and an apology from the minister. of South Korean Defense.
It was the first time in five years that North Korean drones had flown over South Korean airspace.
The isolated communist country, subject since 2006 to strong UN sanctions for its nuclear and weapons program, is holding an important meeting of the single party in power these days.
In it, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other senior officials present political goals for 2023 in areas such as diplomacy, security and the economy.
Last Wednesday, Kim presented “new key goals to strengthen the self-sufficient defensive capacity by 2023,” the state media reported, which did not detail these goals. Its content is expected to be revealed once the meeting concludes.
In 2021, Kim focused on economic issues, but analysts predict that this year the strategy will be more directed at the military front.
As a result of this unprecedented series of launches, the United States and South Korea have been warning for months that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out the seventh nuclear test in its history.
Months ago, Kim warned that his country wanted to become the world’s largest nuclear power and declared its atomic arsenal “irreversible.”
In total, in 2022 North Korea conducted about 40 ballistic missile launches.