Today, Japan and South Korea announced that North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the eastern seaboard days after testing a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine.”
“North Korea launched two unidentified ballistic missiles from the Tongchang-RI area in North Pyongan province into the eastern seaboard,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced today.
The JCS said that the South Korean military has increased surveillance and heightened vigilance and cooperated closely with the United States, as well as maintaining a high combat capability. South Korea and the US are coordinating to analyze the flight distance and altitude of the two missiles.
Japan’s Defense Ministry later confirmed North Korea had launched two ballistic missiles. The two projectiles flew about 500 km before falling into the sea outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Japanese officials have issued warnings to ships operating in the area, but no damage has been reported from the North Korean missile.
The latest launch comes days after Pyongyang tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine” to develop a new strategic weapon under the direction of Chairman Kim Jong-un.
All intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in North Korea’s inventory are liquid-fueled. Kim “expects another new type of strategic weapon to be built in the shortest possible time.”
Observers say the country may have been testing high-thrust engines to advance technology for developing new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
North Korea has repeatedly tested short-range ballistic missiles this year with a record high frequency, in the context that the US and its allies have repeatedly held large-scale drills in the region. Washington said Pyongyang had completed preparations and could conduct its seventh nuclear test any time.
On North Korea on November 18, test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong-17, declaring it part of a priority strategy to strengthen national defense and build nuclear deterrence. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has previously said that his country’s ultimate goal is to have the “most powerful” nuclear force in the world.