Seoul and Tokyo report North Korea launches several ballistic missiles into sea

The apparent short-range weapons test comes days after Pyongyang claimed a successful trial of a new cruise missile warhead

North Korea launched several projectiles that appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Monday, according to officials in South Korea and Japan. Several objects that seemed to be short-range ballistic missiles were fired towards the Sea of Japan from near Pyongyang and flew roughly 300km before entering the water, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported. The military described the incident “a clear provocation” threatening stability and security on the Korean Peninsula.
The Japanese Defense Ministry likewise reported a ballistic missile fired from North Korea and landing off the coast outside of the country’s exclusive economic zone. The Coast Guard said it detected no damage, while the office of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised further updates, after analysis of available information is complete.

According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, it was the fourth ballistic missile test by North Korea this year. In early April, Pyongyang fired what is believed to be a new type of a solid-propellant intermediate-range projectile that can potentially deploy a hypersonic glide vehicle. North Korean state media touted the new platform in mid-March. Last Friday, Pyongyang reported testing a new type of warhead for a cruise missile and a new anti-aircraft weapon. In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced a major policy shift when he stated that his government is no longer seeking peaceful reunification with the South, a goal that he described as misguided. He said that since Seoul considers itself an enemy of Pyongyang, the peoples governed by the two governments cannot be treated as separated parts of the same nation.

The North says it needs advanced weapons systems to protect itself from a possible invasion by the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.