Afternoon launch of North Korean missiles into Sea of Japan

PYONGYANG, 23 Dec 2022:

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan today, South Korea and Japan military authorities said.

The projectiles were launched from the Sunan region, where Pyongyang International Airport is located, at approximately 4:30pm local time – according to a statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in Seoul.

Both missiles travelled as far as 300km (roughly 186 miles), said the JCS, which described the move as a “grave provocation” that violated the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the UN.

Japanese authorities initially reported the detection of one missile with an “irregular” trajectory, which had fallen in waters outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Japan’s executive later called an emergency meeting to analyse details of the launch.

Toshiro Ino, state minister of defense, told reporters Japan had lodged a protest with North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.

On Tuesday, North Korea condemned the reform of military guidelines approved by Tokyo, which seeks to provide the Japanese Self-Defense Forces with the capacity to attack foreign military facilities pre-emptively..

The latest missile launch followed Pyongyang’s testing of a future military reconnaissance satellite on Monday and the launch of two projectiles that Seoul estimated were medium-range ballistic missiles.

There have been a total of at least 46 launches by Kim Jong-un’s regime this year, according to estimates by Washington’s Nuclear Threat Initiative.

This record-high number of tests and the increased investment in the defence of Seoul and Washington has accelerated the arms race in the region, which is experiencing historic tensions.