The launch comes days after North Korea test-fired a suspected ICBM in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, according to South Korea and Japan, in the latest series of weapons tests from the nuclear-armed country.
The missile was launched from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast around 11:05 am (0205 GMT), and flew 800 kilometers before hitting a target, according to a South Korean military statement. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that the missile flew at an altitude of up to 50 km.
Seoul has condemned the recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea as a “clear violation” of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
Shortly after the launch, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the United States deployed a B-1B strategic bomber in joint air exercises, which Seoul and Washington say they are conducting to enhance extended deterrence.
The launches also drew criticism from Tokyo and Washington.
Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Inoue said the missile fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and there were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the area. He described the launch as a “threat” to the security of Japan, the region and the international community that “cannot be tolerated at all”.
“North Korea’s behavior threatens international peace and security, and it is unacceptable,” Inoue said at a press conference, adding that Japan strongly protested through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said Sunday’s launch did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or allies. But the recent missile launches highlight the destabilizing effect of Pyongyang’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, it said in a statement.
The launch follows North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Thursday, hours before the South Korean president heads to Tokyo for a flight summit which discussed ways to confront its nuclear-armed neighbor.
North Korean state media described the launch of the Hwasong 17 as a response to Ongoing “frantic” joint exercises by South Korea and the United States.
Seoul and Washington have stepped up security cooperation after a year of record-breaking North Korean weapons tests and nuclear threats, as the 11-day exercise, dubbed Freedom Shield 23, began a week ago on a scale not seen since 2017. The exercises, which include computer simulations and field exercises, are scheduled to continue through Thursday.
Pyongyang views all of these exercises as rehearsals for invasion.
Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, and leader Kim Jong-un recently called for a “massive” increase in weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.