“Our military detects one ballistic missile being fired toward the East Sea from the Sunan area in Pyongyang at around 7:52 a.m.,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a written statement.
The ballistic missiles traveled around 300 kilometers at an altitude of 620 km, but the South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analyzing the specification.
South Korea’s JCS chairman Gen. Won In-choul and commander of ROK-US Combined Forces Command Gen. Paul LaCamera also held a video conference immediately after North Korea’s missile launch. Both committed to maintaining a firm defense posture.
The South Korean military “maintains readiness posture in preparation for additional launches while tracking and monitoring related movements,” according to the JCS.
Sunday’s launch came after a 28-day hiatus of weapons tests during the Beijing Winter Olympics that ended on Feb. 20.
In January alone, Pyongyang fired off nine ballistic missiles and two land-attack cruise missiles in seven discrete launches. In its last missile test, Pyongyang fired the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which is the longest-range missile launched in more than four years.
The South Korean presidential National Security Council “expressed deep concern and grave regret” over North Korea’s ballistic missile launch despite the joint efforts by Seoul and Washington for a diplomatic solution.
A statement came after national security adviser Suh Hoon convened an emergency meeting of the NSC standing committee between 9:00 and 10:10 a.m.
The NSC standing committee notably pointed to the inappropriateness of Pyongyang’s act which came amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“(Participants) pointed out that launching a ballistic missile at a time when the world is striving to resolve the Ukraine war is never desirable for peace and stability in the world, region and on the Korean peninsula,“ the Cheong Wa Dae said in the statement.
The NSC members “strongly urged North Korea to immediately stop actions that run against peaceful resolution through diplomacy.”
By Ji Da-gyum (email@example.com)