South Korea Slams "Serious Provocation" After North Launches 2 Missiles Toward Japan
On Sunday South Korea's military condemned the latest missile launch from the north as "a serious provocation" - after Pyongyang fired a pair of mid-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
The south's military described "a serious provocation that harms peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community." It was the latest in a significant uptick in tests over the past few months.
The launches resulted in Japan's prime minister issuing an emergency alert for the large island-nation, given the the projectiles traveled over 300 miles before splashing down in waters between Korea and Japan. In a recent test a ballistic missile reportedly flew over the island, panicking residents.
The Associated Press reports, "The launches came two days after the North claimed to have performed a key test needed to build a more mobile, powerful intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the U.S. mainland."
"The two missiles traveled from the country’s northwest Tongchangri area about 500 kilometers (310 miles) at a maximum altitude of 550 kilometers (340 miles) before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to the South Korean and Japanese governments," the report details.
International media is acknowledging a record year in terms of numbers of launches from Pyongyang. Nuclear policy analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Ankit Panda has described that North Korea is flexing as a new "missile power" in the region and on the world stage. "The bigger picture is that North Korea is literally turning into a prominent operator of large-scale missile forces," Panda said.
"The word test is no longer appropriate to talk about most North Korean missile launches," he said. "Most of the missiles they’ve launched this year are parts of military exercises. They are rehearsing for nuclear war. And that I think, is the big picture this year."
In response, last week the Pentagon deployed a US Space Force unit at Osan Air Base outside Seoul in order to better monitor South Korea's missile activity.
The @SpaceForceDoD has established its 1st overseas base in South Korea to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threat. pic.twitter.com/mcQHFmOVTp— TaiwanPlus (@taiwanplusnews) December 15, 2022
"Just 48 miles north of us exists an existential threat; a threat that we must be prepared to deter, defend against, and – if required – defeat," Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion, chief of the new space unit, announced of their mission.