North Korea fires a missile into the sea amid US-South Korea exercises
North Korea has launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea, its neighbors say, while the north ramps up testing activities in response to the US-South Korean military drills it sees as an invasion rehearsal
HYUNG-JIN KIM Associated Press
Mar 18, 2023 10:51pm ET
• 2 minutes reading time
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday, its neighbors said, stepping up testing activities in response to military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, which it views as an invasion rehearsal.
Launched from the North’s northwestern region, the missile flew over the country before landing in waters off the east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
It said the South Korean military had strengthened its surveillance position and was maintaining a readiness in close coordination with the United States.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said a suspected North Korean missile was launched Sunday morning. The suspected weapon landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. There were no immediate reports of damage in the area.
The launch marked the North’s third round of weapons tests since the US and South Korean militaries began joint military exercises last Monday.
Recent exercises between the US and South Korea, which include computer simulations and field exercises, are scheduled to continue through Thursday. The field exercises are the largest of their kind since 2018.
The North views such US-South Korean military drills as a practice to launch an invasion, although Washington and Seoul have staunchly stated that their training is defensive in nature.
Among the weapons North Korea has recently tested is its longest-range Hwasong-17 ICBM, which is designed to hit the US mainland. Northern state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the ICBM launch was meant to “instill fear in the enemy.”
A day before the exercises began, North Korea fired cruise missiles from a submarine. North’s state media said the missile fired from a submarine was a demonstration of its determination to respond with “overwhelming force” to escalating military maneuvers “by US imperialists and South Korean puppet forces.”
Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.