In what South Korea sees as provocation and escalation, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Friday – another chapter in Pyongyang’s latest season of missile launches amid heightened tensions.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missile was launched at 1:49 am on Friday (1449 Thursday GMT) from the Sunan area near North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, and flew about 700 km to an altitude of 50 km at a speed of Mach 6.
The launch, which was at least the 41st ballistic missile test by the North this year, was also spotted and reported by Japan’s coast guard.
N. Korean aircraft graze the South’s border
Nuclear-armed North Korea also flew 10 military aircraft close to the South’s heavily fortified border. South Korea reacted by scrambling fighter jets.
As reported by the JCS, the aircraft incident unfolded for about two hours from 8:30 pm on Thursday during which about 10 North Korean warplanes flew as close as 12 km north of the sea border and 25 km north of the Military Demarcation Line.
The JCS went on to say the South Korean air force “conducted an emergency sortie with its superior air force, including the F-35A” and a proportional response manoeuvre.
But Pyongyang did not stop at that. Around 170 rounds of artillery were fired into “sea buffer zones” off its east and west coasts, the JCS said.
The South urges the North to stop provocations