North and South Korea both fired ballistic missiles as tensions escalated on the peninsula

Pyongyang fired the first missile on Wednesday, hitting two five minutes apart off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula, at 12:38 pm local time and 12:43 pm (11:38 pm and 11:43 am ET) into water. sent. Japan Coast Guard.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Seoul followed that test less than three hours later, firing a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from the 3,700-ton submarine ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho. The ministry, without giving further details, said the missile hit its target accurately.

The ministry said South Korean President Moon Jae-in was present for the test.

South Korea’s weapons development, including its missile capabilities, is gaining momentum as the country tries to become less dependent on the United States and more wary of North Korea’s growing missile program.

In May, Moon and US President Joe Biden agreed to end a 40-year-old bilateral agreement that limited the range and payload of South Korean missiles.

North Korea, in a posting to its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), called Washington’s end of those sanctions on the South a “deliberate and hostile act” and vowed to “combat the US on the principle of strength”. Strength.”

With the launch, South Korea has become the seventh army in the world to successfully test-fire an SLBM, the ministry said.

Other SLBM nations are also nuclear powers, but South Korea does not have nuclear weapons.

Earlier, North Korea fired two unidentified ballistic missiles on the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

South Korea said the missiles covered a range of about 800 kilometers (500 mi), while reaching an altitude of up to 60 kilometers (37 mi).

Japan’s defense ministry said North Korean projectiles are believed to have gone overboard outside its exclusive economic zone.

Nevertheless, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the North Korean launches “outrageous”, and said they “are a threat to the peace and security of our country and the region.”

While the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii said there was no “immediate threat” to the US or its allies from the North Korean test, it said in a statement that the launch “highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illegal weapons program”. Is. “

Wednesday’s missile tests from both North and South Korea came hours after Moon met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Seoul.

China wields considerable influence over North Korea, and during the meeting, Moon said Pyongyang was not responding to attempts by Seoul and Washington to engage in talks concerning the status of the peninsula.

North Korea’s ballistic missile test Wednesday is Pyongyang’s first since Biden took office in January and comes just days after Pyongyang said it. Tested long range cruise missiles On Saturday and Sunday.

Pyongyang is prohibited under international law from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Earlier such tests have been met with international opposition and sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

Cruise missiles are powered by jet engines. Like an airplane, they stay close to the ground, which makes them difficult to detect. Most cruise missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

In comparison, ballistic missiles are operated only for a short portion of their flight. They are fired on a soaring path that takes them out of Earth’s atmosphere for longer range versions, and they can handle heavy payloads such as nuclear weapons.

The North Korean military unveiled two new missiles at parades last October and January. One of which Analysts said could be one of the largest in the world, was so large that it needed to be mounted on an 11-axle truck.
but in the north most recent military parade Last week, with no missiles to see, the parade ranks were filled instead with small battlefield-type weapons.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) attends a parade to mark the republic's 73rd anniversary in Pyongyang.  This undated image was provided by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on September 9.

Professor Leif-Erik Easley of Iwa University in Seoul said, “Some analysts have suggested that the parade was halted to allow space for talks because it did not include a nuclear-capable weapon or policy announcements by Kim Jong Un. was.” “But North Korea’s subsequent missile tests run contrary to international expectations for talks.”

On the South Korean side, the SLBM launch was one of a series of military tests conducted by the country’s military on Wednesday.

The ministry said it also fired a long-range air-to-surface missile, released it from an aircraft, deployed its wings and successfully landed it on target.

That weapon, which is still in development, is designed to be used by South Korea’s FK-21 fighter jets, stealth jets that are in the prototype stage.

A statement from South Korea’s Defense Development Agency also said that the country had been successful in developing a new ballistic missile capable of carrying a heavier and stronger warhead. The agency said the missile is designed to take out concrete structures and tunnels.

“This high-powered ballistic missile will enhance our military’s peacetime deterrence and will be used as a major arsenal for heavy response in a crisis,” the defense ministry said.

A hypersonic cruise missile designed to attack enemy ships was also developed, the ministry said. The statement called the new hypersonic much faster than the missiles now on South Korea’s list and said it would soon be deployed with South Korean military units.

CNN’s Junko Ogura and Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.


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