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North Korea fires a salvo of short-range ballistic missiles

North Korea fired shots Thursday morning a salvo of short-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of ​​Japan, announced Seoul, a few hours after having sent towards the South balloons filled with rubbish.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected the launch of “what is suspected to be around ten short-range ballistic missiles” fired towards waters east of the Korean peninsula.

The projectiles traveled some 350 kilometers and their characteristics are being examined by South Korea, the United States and Japan, according to the same source.

This shot is a “provocation which seriously threatens peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula”, believes the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tokyo also confirmed and “firmly condemned” the launch of these devices which “seem to have fallen outside Japan's exclusive economic zone”, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told journalists.

Mr. Kishida was in Seoul on Monday for talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang during a first tripartite summit since 2019 between Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing, during which they reaffirmed their commitment to “denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula”.

– “Protest” –

On Wednesday, Pyongyang sent balloons filled with trash, toilet paper and suspected animal feces to the South, an action the South Korean military deemed “low-class.”

South Korean activists sometimes release balloons carrying propaganda leaflets and money aimed at people living north of the heavily fortified border, a move that has long drawn the ire of Pyongyang, which has also sent balloons to his neighbor in the past.

“We tried something they always did, but I don't understand why they are making a fuss as if they were victims of a hail of bullets,” Kim Yo Jong, sister of leader Kim Jong Un and one of the government's top spokespeople, said in a statement released by the North Korean news agency KNCA.

The ballistic missile launch also came a few days after an attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit by Pyongyang, the failure of which was announced by the North on Monday.

The UN Security Council is due to meet on Friday to discuss this attempt, condemned by Seoul, Tokyo and even Washington.

Putting into orbit a reconnaissance vehicle has long been a priority for the Kim Jong Un regime, which claimed to have achieved it in November, after two unsuccessful attempts in 2023.

Experts believe that spy satellites could improve Pyongyang's intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly vis-à-vis its great rival, South Korea, and provide crucial data in the event of a military conflict.

The firing of ballistic missiles observed Thursday morning “seems to be (a) protest from the North after the commitment on + denuclearization + obtained during the tripartite summit and the convening of a meeting of the Council of UN security to discuss the satellite launch,” Hong Min, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told AFP.

“It is unprecedented that such a large number of short-range missiles were fired simultaneously”, he also observed.

The missile launch observed Thursday morning also comes after the dissolution of the United Nations sanctions monitoring system against North Korea and its nuclear program due to a Russian veto.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116