North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday, its neighboring countries said, in the latest weapon tests by North Korea that has raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer for talks with South Korea. In an emergency National Security Council meeting, the South Korean government expressed regret over what it called “a short-range missile launch” by the North.
South Korea’s military earlier said the object fired from North Korea’s mountainous northern Jagang province flew toward the waters off the North’s eastern coast. Details of the launch were being analyzed by South Korean and U.S. authorities. But Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said North Korea fired “what could be a ballistic missile” and that his government stepped up its vigilance and surveillance. Meanwhile, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their “hostile policy” against the country. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the launch doesn’t pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies. But it said the missile launch “highlights the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program” and that the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remains ironclad.” A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the Biden administration condemned the launch, which she noted was “in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions.”