Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has launched two short-range ballistic missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Thursday, in a defiant move that came shortly after it denounced the joint military drills by the US and South Korea near its border.
The missiles were fired at around 7:25 p.m. and 7:37 p.m. local time from near Pyongyang’s international airport toward the east of the Korean peninsula, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Japan’s defense ministry said the projectiles likely flew in an irregular trajectory and landed about 250 km north-northwest of Hegura island, part of Ishikawa prefecture.
This was the first missile launch by DPRK in about two months and the 13th time that its missiles landed within Japan’s EEZ. North Korea has been developing its missile arsenal over the past few years, rolling out models that are quick to deploy and designed to evade US-operated interceptors.
The launch came as the US and South Korea wrapped up their live-fire exercises this week, which involved several thousand troops and various weapons systems. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted a defense ministry spokesman as saying that the drills were escalating the military tension in the region and that its armed forces would “fully counter any form of demonstrative moves and provocation of the enemies”.