North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its eastern coast early Monday morning, dealing another blow to efforts by South Korea’s new government to improve inter-Korean ties.
The missile, presumed to be a Scud type, was launched eastward from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon Province, at around 5:39 a.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
“The flight distance is around 450 kilometers,” it said.
The North’s latest action was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in, who ordered related government officials to convene a National Security Council meeting, said the JCS.
The session started at 7:30 a.m., presided over by Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong.
The U.S. Pacific Command also confirmed the launch occurred near Wonsan Airfield, saying the missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the East Sea.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” the Hawaii-based command said in an emailed statement. “U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan.”
U.S. President Donald Trump was also briefed on the North’s provocation, a White House official said.
The Japanese government strongly denounced the North as the missile appears to have landed in waters near its territory.
“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is highly problematic from the perspective of the safety of shipping and air traffic, and is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
The North’s Scud missiles using liquid fuel is known to have a range of 300-500 km, mainly targeting the South.