South Korea fires missile to ‘promote peace’ hours after North Korea


Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga has named North Korea’s missile launches ‘outrageous’ (Picture: EPA/AP/Reuters)

North Korea and South Korea test-fired ballistic missiles hours apart today in a sign both regimes are expanding military capabilities.

Kim Jong-un’s Government fired two ballistic missiles 500 miles off the east coast this morning – two days after ‘testing ‘a strategic weapon of great significance’.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga blasted the move as ‘outrageous’ as they landed outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

A matter of hours later, South Korea conducted its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in order to ‘help Seoul deter potential external threats’.

Tensions are rising as South Korea becomes ‘the seventh country in the world with the advanced technology’.

The presidential office said it was also intended to ‘boost self-defence and promote peace on the Korean peninsula’ – but experts have warned it could needlessly provoke the North.

The domestically-built missile was fired from a 3,000-ton submarine and flew a set distance before hitting a designated target.

President Moon Jae-in’s Government – which wants reconciliation with North Korea – could be responding to claims it is too lenient with its neighbour.

It’s been suggested the missiles North Korea fired on Monday – the first in six months – were developed with the intention to arm them with nuclear warheads.

The test missiles North Korea launched on Monday were the first since March (Picture: KCNA)
South Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is test-fired (Picture: EPA)
President Moon Jae-in speaks over the phone with the captain of the Navy’s Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine while inspecting the underwater test-launch (Picture: EPA)

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said this morning: ‘The firings threaten the peace and safety of Japan and the region and are absolutely outrageous.

‘The Government of Japan is determined to further step up our vigilance and surveillance to be prepared for any contingencies.’

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the launches, while highlighting the destabilising impact of North Korea’s illicit weapons programme, did not pose an immediate threat to ‘US personnel or territory, or to our allies’.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the Government hoped the ‘relevant parties would exercise restraint’.

It comes after talks between the US and North Korea stalled when America rejected the North’s demand for major sanctions relief, in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear facility.

Leader Kim Jong Un has refused to engage in dialogue with the Biden administration, demanding that Washington stop its ‘hostile’ policies first.

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