March 27, 2023

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North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday morning, the Japanese government said, its first such launch in a year and the first since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.
The missiles landed outside Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone and there have been no reports of harm caused to aircraft or ships, the government said.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga strongly condemned it as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from firing ballistic missiles, saying it “threatened the peace and security of Japan and the surrounding region.”
The first missile was launched from Sondok on North Korea’s eastern coast shortly after 7 a.m. and the second from the same location about 20 minutes later, according to Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. Both flew roughly 450 kilometers at an altitude below 100 km, lower than Scud missiles, Kishi said.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said two projectiles were fired from South Hamgyong Province in the eastern part of North Korea into the Sea of Japan.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the launches highlight “the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons program poses to its neighbours and the international community,” adding Washington’s commitment to the defence of Japan and South Korea remains “ironclad.”
The Japanese government lodged a formal protest against North Korea through its embassy in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry official said. Tokyo does not have formal diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
Suga called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and instructed officials to continue gathering information and disclose it to the public while confirming the safety of marine and air traffic.
“We will closely cooperate with the United States, South Korea and other countries to firmly protect people’s peaceful lives,” Suga told reporters after the NSC meeting. He also vowed to discuss policies toward North Korea during his meeting with Biden next month.
Takehiro Funakoshi, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Sung Kim, the acting assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, held phone talks following the missile launches and affirmed close cooperation between their governments.
North Korea’s first ballistic missile launch since March 29, 2020, came after the U.S and South Korean governments said North Korea tested a short-range weapons system last weekend.
U.S. officials characterized the weekend test as “normal military activity.”
The Biden administration is reviewing its policy toward North Korea, and national security advisers from the United States, Japan and South Korea plan to meet next week in Washington to coordinate approaches.
Report by Chetali S M
Reported on – 24/03/2021

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