North Korea fires ballistic missile into eastern waters, South Korea

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  • The new launch comes after the US, South Korea and Japan concluded joint military exercises, raising concerns about rising tensions in the region

SEOUL,South Korea,July 1 – North Korea launched a ballistic missile off its east coast on Monday, according to South Korea’s military. This follows a vow from North Korea to deliver “offensive and overwhelming” responses in protest against a new U.S. military drill conducted with South Korea and Japan.

US Asian Allies:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff reported the launch on Monday morning but provided no further details, including the missile’s travel distance.

The missile launch came just two days after South Korea, the U.S., and Japan concluded their new multidomain trilateral drills named “Freedom Edge”. This exercise involved a U.S. aircraft carrier, destroyers, fighter jets, and helicopters from all three nations, and included missile defence, anti-submarine, and maritime interdiction drills.

On Sunday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a lengthy statement condemning the U.S., South Korea, and Japan for their trilateral drills. It described the exercise as an Asian version of NATO that openly undermines the security environment on the Korean Peninsula, accusing the U.S. of intending to pressure Russia and encircle China.

The Foreign Ministry stated that North Korea will “firmly defend the sovereignty, security, and interests of the state and peace in the region through offensive and overwhelming countermeasures.”

Monday’s missile launch was North Korea’s first in five days. Last Wednesday, North Korea launched what it claimed to be a multiwarhead missile, the first known test of an advanced weapon intended to defeat U.S. and South Korean missile defences. While North Korea asserted that the launch was successful, South Korea dismissed this as a deception to cover up a failed test.

In recent weeks, North Korea has also sent numerous trash-filled balloons towards South Korea, describing this as a response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets via balloons.

US Asian Allies:

Meanwhile, North Korea convened a significant ruling party meeting on Friday to address “important, immediate issues” aimed at further enhancing Korean-style socialism. During the second session on Saturday, leader Kim Jong Un discussed “some deviations obstructing” the country’s efforts to improve its economic status and unspecified important tasks for addressing immediate policy issues, according to state media reports on Sunday.

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