North Korea fires ‘at least one ballistic missile,’ Japan says
On Sunday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that North Korea launched at least one ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, in the Sunan area. The missile was reportedly launched in the morning, and flew a distance of 300 kilometers. According to the Joint Chiefs and the Japanese Defense Minister, the missile reached a maximum altitude of 600 kilometers. This marks North Korea’s first missile test since January 30th, when it launched what it claimed to be an intermediate range ballistic missile. Sunday’s test was a missile of shorter range, according to Japan’s estimates.
South Korea referred to the launch as undesirable, especially amid a crisis in Ukraine. The missile launch was likely detrimental to stabilization and comes under poor timing. Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) confirmed the launch as the eighth missile test this year, and urged the North to immediately stop actions that are contradictory to peace. South Korea plans to hold presidential elections on March 9, which North Korea is set to be a key electoral issue. The elections are expected to bring tension between the neighboring countries.