Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

North Korea fires missile ballistics during Blinken's visit to Seoul

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A television screen shows an image of North Korea's missile launch, at Seoul Station, South Korea, March 18, 2024.

Agence France-Presse

Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile on Monday, reported the military in Seoul, where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting senior officials and assisting at a summit on democracy.

North Korea fired an unspecified ballistic missile toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of ​​Japan, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Japan also confirmed the shot. According to its coast guard, the projectile appears to have landed.

This ballistic missile launch is the second of its kind carried out by Pyongyang in 2024, after that, on January 14, of a machine equipped with a hypersonic warhead. It comes a few days after the end of joint US-South Korean military exercises.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, arrives at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Sunday March 17, 2024.

Mr. Blinken landed in South Korea on Sunday afternoon to participate in the third Democracy Summit, an initiative of United States President Joe Biden, and which Seoul is hosting from Monday to Wednesday. Government officials, NGOs and members of civil society are present.

The United States immediately condemned the shooting by the North Korea with a ballistic missile.

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These launches, like previous ballistic missile launches in recent years, are in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, a State Department spokesperson said, emphasizing that these launches threaten North Korea's neighbors and undermine regional security.

The American Secretary of State must also take advantage of his trip to x27;speak with his South Korean counterpart Cho Tae-yul about ways to strengthen the alliance between Washington and Seoul, as the two countries seek to improve their policy of extended deterrence against the North.

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary session that North Korea had fired “a certain number” of ballistic missiles in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, March 18, 2024.

On Thursday, Seoul and Washington ended their annual large-scale Freedom Shield exercises, including missile interception and air assaults. The number of troops participating has been doubled compared to 2023.

Pyongyang warned in early March that the United States and South Korea would pay a high price for the maneuvers before announcing that Mr. Kim had overseen a large-scale artillery exercise that it said included border units that have brought the enemy's capital within their reach.

Seoul is a key ally of Washington in the region. The United States is stationing some 27,000 American troops in South Korea to help protect it against the nuclear-armed North.

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Yoon Suk-yeol, the president of South Korea (File photo)

Coming to power in 2022, conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has strengthened his ties with the White House and sought closer ties with Japan, former colonial power on the Korean peninsula, facing threats from Pyongyang.

Since the start of the year, Pyongyang has designated Seoul as its main enemy, closed agencies dedicated to reunification and inter-Korean dialogue, and threatened war for any violation of its territory by even 0.001 millimeters.

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