North Korea carried out a short-range ballistic missile test on Sunday, shortly after the arrival of a US aircraft carrier in South Korea for joint military drills.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the missile launched from the North Pyongan Province in the early morning hours of Sunday, and fell into the East Sea.
Japan also confirmed the launch, saying the missile had an estimated apogee of 50 kilometers and a range of about 400 kilometers. South Korea’s JCS estimated the missile had a range of 600 kilometers and an apogee of around 60 kilometers.
In addition to taking place two days after the arrival of USS Ronald Reagan to Busan, South Korea, the launch precedes the visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Seoul.
Harris is expected to visit South Korea next week, when the naval maneuver in the East Sea involving the USS Ronald Reagan is set to take place.
One of the main purposes of the aircraft carrier’s visit to South Korea was to send a message to North Korea which has already carried out a record number of missile tests this year.
“We are aware of the ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs. The US commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad.”