Ballistic Missile fired towards Japan by North Korea.

Ballistic Missile fired towards Japan by North Korea.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards Japan from its east coast on Wednesday, as stated by South Korea's joint chiefs of staff.

This action followed threats of retaliation due to alleged US spy plane flights.

The missile traveled approximately 1,000km (621 miles) before crashing into the water, according to South Korea’s military. The chief cabinet secretary of Japan reported that the missile landed about 250km west of Okushiri island in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan. 

The missile was airborne for 74 minutes, reaching an altitude of over 6,000km.

This incident occurred during a rare trilateral meeting in Hawaii between the top US general, South Korean, and Japanese counterparts. 

The launch took place just as the meeting concluded, despite its long-planned nature, according to Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesperson for Gen Mark Milley, as informed to Reuters.

With rising threats from China and North Korea, Washington has been urging the uneasy neighboring countries to collaborate more closely. 

However, Seoul and Tokyo have strained relations due to disputes stemming from Japan’s occupation of Korea between 1910 and 1945.

Experts believe that North Korea likely tested its road-mobile Hwasong-18 ICBM, which uses solid fuel, making it harder to detect and intercept compared to the North’s other liquid-fueled ICBMs. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has previously declared the Hwasong-18 as his most potent nuclear weapon.

South Korean and Japanese assessments indicate that the missile was launched at a high angle, seemingly an effort to avoid affecting neighboring countries.

This marks North Korea’s twelfth missile launch this year. 

In April, the regime test-fired its first-ever solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. In late May, it made an unsuccessful attempt to launch its self-proclaimed first-ever spy satellite using a new launch vehicle. South Korea recently announced the recovery of satellite wreckage from the ocean, stating that it held no military value as a reconnaissance satellite.

These recent missile tests by North Korea followed heated complaints about US military activities. The regime accused American spy planes of violating its economic zones and criticized a recent visit by an American nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine to South Korea.

Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of Kim Jong-un, issued threats of “shocking” consequences over US reconnaissance activity.

She claimed that the US spy plane had flown over North Korea’s eastern exclusive economic zone eight times in one day, prompting the North to scramble warplanes to intercept it.

The US and South Korea dismissed North Korea’s accusations and called for restraint in both actions and rhetoric to avoid escalating tensions.

North Korea has frequently made similar threats regarding alleged US reconnaissance activities. However, these recent statements come amidst heightened animosity due to the regime’s series of missile tests this year.

The use of ballistic missile technology, including satellite launches, is prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. Several countries, including the Security Council, have imposed sanctions on North Korea in response to its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

According to analysts studying commercial satellite imagery, North Korea is expected to showcase military force, such as a large parade, on July 27th. This date commemorates the regime’s claim of victory in the Korean War (1950-1953) against the US, South Korea, and their allies.—Firstpost