North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile: South Korea Military


North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile off its east coast on Sunday, South Korea’s military said.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was an “unknown” missile and didn’t immediately specify how far it flew.

It marks North Korea’s 18th round of missile launches in 2022. The previous missile launch was less than two weeks ago, when it launched three ballistic missiles just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden ended his trip to Asia.

The missile firing comes a day after a top U.S. envoy departed Seoul. Special envoy Sung Kim met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Friday.

At the trilateral meeting, he said the countries are “preparing for all contingencies” after Washington assessed that North Korea is preparing to carry out a nuclear test for the first time since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear bomb to fit on its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

“We are prepared to make both short and longer-term adjustments to our military posture as appropriate and responding to any [North Korea] provocation and as necessary to strengthen both defense and deterrence to protect our allies in the region,” he said.

“We want to make clear to the DPRK that its unlawful and destabilizing activities have consequences and that the international community will not accept these actions as normal,” Kim added, using North Korea’s official acronym.

North Korea has a nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri, a town in the northeast. The Kim regime demolished the site in May 2018 to signal its commitment to end nuclear testing. But South Korean and American intelligence recently reported spotting construction work at the site.

North Korea appears to have drastically ramped up its weapons tests this year, including the first ICBM test since 2017, in March.

Talks led by the United States seeking to get North Korea to advance denuclearization, including to surrender its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenal, have been stalled since February 2019. At the time, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-President Donald Trump were unable to come to an agreement over disputes about U.S.-led international sanctions on Pyongyang.

The latest missile launch also comes a day after the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan concluded a three-day naval drill with South Korea in the Philippine Sea, apparently their first drill involving a carrier since November 2017.

Aldgra Fredly and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter based in Australia. She covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com



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