North Korea launched two ballistic missile into Sea of Japan, as one of which exploded immediately after launch, according to the US.
The launch has been condemned by it’s southern neighbor, as well as Japan and Washington.
The ballistic missile launched at about 7:50am local time (around midnight GMT) and flew for about 1,000 km (620 miles) before landing in Japan’s economic exclusion zone, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, described the launch aa a grave threat to Japan and had said Tokyo strongly protested. Japan also said its self-defence force remain on alert in case of further launches.
A US State Department spokesman condemned the launch and said that it would only increase the international community’s resolve to counter North Korea’s actions.
“The North Koreans seem to have been timing their recent short-range and medium-range missile tests to the weeks ahead of US-South Korean joint exercises,” said Joshua Pollack, editor of the US-based Nonproliferation Review, The Guardian reports.
“If the allies can exercise their armed forces, so can the North.”
As the North Korea fired three ballistic missiles on July 19, that flew between 300 and 360 miles into the sea off east coast, North later said that it was a part of an exercise simulating preemptive strikes against South Korean ports and airfields used by the US military.
The recent launches follow an agreement last month between the South Korea and United States to deploy advanced anti-missile system in the south.
It was stated that North Korea had threatened a “physical response” against that of deployment decision.
Since the January nuclear test, tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula, where two Koreas remain technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in 1950-1953 Korean War.