North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile, says South Korean military

North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile, says South Korean military

Fresh launch comes days after Pyongyang test-fired newest Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile

By Anadolu Agency Staff

ANKARA (AA) — North Korea on Sunday fired a short-range ballistic missile towards the East Sea, local media reported amid ongoing military drills between the US and South Korea.

South Korea's military said they detected the launch from the Tongchang-ri area on the country's west coast at 11.05 a.m. local time (0205GMT), Yonhap News Agency reported.

"While strengthening its monitoring and vigilance in preparation against the possibility of additional launches, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States," the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) were as quoted as saying in a statement.

The latest missile launch was the fourth such show of force by North Korea in a week.

On Friday, North Korean state media confirmed that a missile test-fired the previous day was the newest Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

Thursday's missile launch took place just hours before South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol left for Tokyo, the first head of state to visit Japan since 2011.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement on Sunday said the latest launch "does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies," but highlights the destabilizing impact of North Korea's "unlawful WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile programs."

"The US commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad," the statement said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen further since the US and South Korea began their Freedom Shield military exercises on Monday, which will last at least 10 days.

On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un again threatened to use nuclear weapons if the US and South Korea continue to show "open hostility" toward Pyongyang.

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