North Korea (DPRK) has reportedly launched a short-range ballistic missile into the sea offshore from the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
The launch comes two days after the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), arrived in Busan, South Korea, on 22 September.
For the first time since 2017, the Nimitz-class vessel CVN 76 and its strike force will be involved in a series of bilateral drills to showcase both nations’ naval power.
The DPRK’s latest missile launch also comes in response to US Vice President Kamala Harris’ expected visit to South Korea and Japan in the coming days.
According to a Reuters report, the South Korean military said that a single ballistic missile was fired from the Taechon area of North Pyongyang Province.
Following the launch, the missile flew about 600km, with a speed of Mach V and at an altitude of 60km.
Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada claimed that the missile followed an ‘irregular trajectory’ and fell near Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Hamada said: “If you include launches of cruise missiles, this is the nineteenth launch, which is an unprecedented pace.”
In a statement, US Indo-Pacific Command said: “While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK fired unlawful weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programmes.”
North Korea is reported to have launched an ‘unprecedented’ number of missile tests this year.
In response to these, the US and South Korea have said they will boost joint drills and military displays of power to counter the tests.
In June, the DPRK launched eight short-range ballistic missiles in one day, which prompted the US to call for sanctions for violating UN Security Council resolutions.