A North Korean missile landed off the coast of South Korea for the first time, prompting warnings of an air strike

A North Korean missile landed off the coast of South Korea for the first time, prompting warnings of an air strike

SEOUL, Nov 2 (Reuters) – A North Korean ballistic missile landed less than 60 kilometers off South Korea’s coast on Wednesday, the first time an apparent test has landed near South Korean waters, prompting warnings of an air strike, they said. officials.

The missile was one of three short-range ballistic missiles fired from North Korea’s Wonsan coastal area into the sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The JCS said at least one of the missiles landed 26 kilometers south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the disputed inter-Korean maritime border. The missile fell 57 kilometers from the South Korean city of Sokcho, on the east coast, and 167 kilometers from Ulleung, where air strike warnings were issued.

“We heard a siren around 8:55 a.m. and everyone in the building went down to the evacuation site in the basement,” an Ulleung district official told Reuters. “We stayed there until we came up at about 9:15 after we heard the missile hit the open sea.”

A resident of the southern part of the island said they had not received any warnings.

The launches came just hours after Pyongyang demanded for the United States and South Korea to suspend large-scale military exercises, saying such “military rashness and provocations can no longer be tolerated.”

A South Korean military spokesman said authorities were analyzing the launches to see if the missile’s flight paths were intentional or if one went off course.

It was the first time a North Korean ballistic missile had landed near South Korean waters, the JCS said.

“Our military can never tolerate this kind of provocative act by North Korea, and will respond strictly and firmly with the close cooperation of South Korea and the US,” the JCS said in a press release.

“For North Korea to test missiles in a N or SE direction in the East Sea and towards South Korean territory is highly unusual and particularly provocative,” wrote Joseph Dempsey, a defense researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in an online posting.

On Monday, the United States and South Korea began Vigilant Storm, one of their largest combined military exercises, with hundreds of warplanes from both sides conducting mock attacks around the clock. read more

North Korea has test-fired a record number of missiles this year and said the recent flurry of launches was in response to allied exercises.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the government believed at least two ballistic missiles were launched from North Korea, one flying east and the other southeast.

“North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles at an unprecedented rate, in new ways that we have not seen before,” Hamada told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.

“These actions threaten the peace and stability of Japan, the wider region, as well as the wider international community and are completely unacceptable,” he added.

Japan filed a complaint and protested through diplomatic channels in Beijing, he said.

Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi, Choonsik Yoo and Josh Smith; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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