| 4 December 2023, Monday |

North Korea fires ‘unidentified ballistic missile’, says South

The South Korean military declared that North Korea has fired an “unidentified ballistic missile” towards the eastern sea.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff General Kim Seung-kyum said the launch was made Thursday but gave no further details.

“North Korea fires an unidentified ballistic missile into East Sea,” General Kim Seung-kyum said, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan, reports AFP

The launch came hours after North Korea’s foreign minister Choe Son Hue threatened to launch “fiercer” in response to the US-South Korea-Japan summit accord on the North.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden held talks with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss ways to address the threat posed by the North’s “unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs”, the White House said.

The meeting invited a strong response from the North, with its foreign minister saying they were “bringing the situation on the Korean peninsula to an unpredictable phase.”

“The US ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts,” Choe said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

Japan, China to hold talks; Xi Jinping and Fumio Kishida to sit down in Bangkok

It is believed that Thursday’s launch was timed to coincide with the statement from the foreign minister.

This is the latest missile provocation in a series of record-breaking launches this month. Earlier this month, North Korea conducted a volley of launches, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, which Seoul said appeared to have failed.

Pyongyang also fired a short-range ballistic missile that crossed the de facto maritime border between the two countries and landed near the South’s territorial waters for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

President Yoon said at the time that it was “effectively a territorial invasion”.

Both launches were part of a November 2 barrage in which Pyongyang fired 23 missiles — more than it launched during the whole of 2017, the year of “fire and fury” when Kim traded barbs with then US president Donald Trump on Twitter and in state media.

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