PYONGYANG – North Korea has launched at least three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The ballistic missiles were launched from the eastern town of Sondok in North Korea’s southern Hamgyong Province, according to the JCS.
“Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” the JCS said, as quoted by Yonhap.
Japan suspects that the launched rockets were ballistic missiles, Kyodo News reported. The “missiles” did not reach Japan’s exclusive economic zone, it said. The projectiles flew around 200 kilometers (124.2 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (31 miles), Yonhap added later citing the military.
A week ago, North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles (also presumed to be ballistic missiles) into the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military said. The projectiles flew approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) at a maximum altitude of 35 kilometers (21 miles). It was the first missile test by Pyongyang in 2020.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced earlier in his New Year’s Day message that the DPRK would demonstrate a “new strategic weapon” in the near future, Yonhap said, which could possibly mean an advanced type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), or a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Kim’s message came as the United States of America ignored the end-of-the-year deadline set by Kim to come up with a new proposal that would have lifted economic sanctions on the DPRK. North Korea asserted it would no longer adhere to the moratorium placed on its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
While it was negotiating with the United States, North Korea suspended test launches of its short and medium-range ballistic missiles, but resumed the tests after denuclearisation talks were cut short and ended prematurely without a deal in February last year.