North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the sea, South Korea's military announced early Tuesday morning local time.
The launch came from the vicinity of Sinpo, a city with a naval base bordering the Sea of Japan, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea said, according to Yonhap News. It is the latest show of aggression from Kim Jong Un's regime amid years of stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and the United States.
While South Korea early on reported one missile launch, Japan's prime minister said North Korea fired two missiles.
"The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are currently conducting a thorough analysis regarding additional information," the JCS said in a text message to reporters.
The development comes roughly three weeks after North Korea launched a short-range missile into the sea. A day later, the hermit nation claimed it fired a hypersonic missile for the first time, warfare technology being developed by superpowers including the United States and China that could be used to carry nuclear warheads.
Kim expressed interest in recent weeks in restoring stalled communication lines with Seoul, but accused South Korea of being “bent on begging [for] external support and cooperation while clamoring for international cooperation in servitude to the U.S."
President Joe Biden's top envoy for North Korean policy was expected to visit Seoul this week for talks with Pyongyang, including an end-of-war declaration.
Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported China, a key ally to North Korea, “tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile” that “circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating advanced space capabilities that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise,” citing unnamed sources “briefed on the intelligence.”
These missiles would still travel slower than a ballistic missile, but they have the maneuverability that ballistic missiles lack, which helps them dodge and become harder for enemies to track.
U.S. military leaders have warned about China's nuclear capabilities, as tension regarding Taiwan continues to escalate.
"We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,” Kirby said.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin
Original Location: North Korea launched ballistic missile, South Korean military says