Late on Monday, July 24, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Japanese defense ministry also confirmed the report and stated that North Korea launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile.
South Korea said that North Korea has fired at least two ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan. Meanwhile, the Japanese defence ministry said the projectile which is said could be a ballistic missile was believed to have fallen outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Japanese media later reported there may have been multiple missiles launched, citing a government source.
The launch comes amid a rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula where South Korea and its ally the United States have been ramping up military readiness against North Korea.
Hours after 2nd US submarine arrives
The launch of the possible ballistic missile happened hours after the South Korean Navy announced that the nuclear-armed American submarine made port in the country in four decades. The USS Annapolis entered a naval base in the country’s southern island of Jeju, said the South Korean navy.
“The two countries’ navies plan to strengthen the combined defence posture with the arrival of the USS Annapolis, and conduct exchange activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the alliance,” said Seoul’s navy, in a statement.
The USS Annapolis arrived less than a week after the American nuclear submarine, USS Kentucky, docked in South Korea for the first time since 1981.
Chinese delegation to arrive in N.Korea
The launch on Monday also came hours after North Korean state media KCNA reported that a high-level Chinese delegation will travel to Pyongyang, this week. In what may be the first acknowledged visit of its kind since North Korea shut its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong will take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, reported the KCNA.
North Korea fired ‘several cruise missiles’ into sea
North Korea also fired “several cruise missiles” into the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean peninsula, the South Korean military reported, on Saturday.
According to Seoul’s military, the launch, over the weekend, took place around 4:00 am (local time). “South Korean and US intelligence authorities were analysing the launches while monitoring signs of additional activities,” said the South Korean military.