North Korea fires long-range missile ahead of Yoon’s trip to Japan


North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile early Thursday, in line with officers in Japan and South Korea, the identical day leaders from the 2 US allies are because of meet in Tokyo for the primary such summit in 12 years.

At the very least one unidentified ballistic missile was fired into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula early Thursday morning native time, in line with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Workers.

Japan’s Protection Ministry additionally confirmed a launch, estimating that the missile would fall outdoors its Unique Financial Zone (EEZ), roughly 550 kilometers (341 miles) east of the Korean Peninsula.

It added that the space the missile traveled was roughly 1,000 km (621 miles) and sure reached an altitude of over 6,000 km (3,728 miles).

The South Korean army was sustaining a full readiness posture whereas carefully cooperating with the US, the JCS mentioned.

North Korea final examined a long-range missile on February 18, and Thursday’s is the fourth intercontinental ballistic missile launch in lower than one yr.

It follows a flurry of checks to date this week – on Sunday, North Korea fired two cruise missiles from a submarine and the following day launched two short-range ballistic missiles from South Hwanghae Province.

The checks coincide with springtime joint army workout routines between america and South Korea – the largest conflict video games the 2 allies have staged in 5 years. Forward of the 11-day Freedom Protect workout routines, North Korea had threatened to take the “hardest counteraction in opposition to probably the most vicious plots of the US and its followers.”

The timing additionally coincides with the upcoming arrival of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Japan for a summit his workplace has hailed as “an essential milestone” within the improvement of bilateral relations.

The 2 East Asian neighbors have an extended historical past of acrimony, relationship again to Japan’s colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula a century in the past.

The 2 international locations normalized relations in 1965, however unresolved historic disputes have continued to fester and hostility lingered.

Extra lately, their fraught relations have undermined efforts by america to current a united entrance in opposition to North Korea – and the rising assertiveness of China.

Earlier than departing for Tokyo, Yoon informed worldwide media on Wednesday “there may be an rising want for Korea and Japan to cooperate on this time of a polycrisis,” citing escalating North Korean nuclear and missile threats and the disruption of worldwide provide chains.

“We can’t afford to waste time whereas leaving strained Korea-Japan relations unattended,” Yoon mentioned.