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Japan, South Korea report ballistic missile launches from North Korea

North Korea launched several short-range ballistic missiles from central North Korea towards the Sea of Japan. 

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the projectiles reached a maximum altitude of around 50 kilometers (about 30 miles), traveled approximately 250 kilometers (about 155 miles), and landed outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. 

While the details are still being analyzed, no reported damage to aircraft or ships in the vicinity has been reported.  

“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community,” the ministry commented in a statement. “Furthermore, such ballistic missile launches violate relevant Security Council resolutions and are a serious issue concerning national safety. Japan has strongly protested and strongly condemned North Korea.” 

Japanese authorities added they were working closely with international partners, including the United States and South Korea, to collect information regarding the launch. 

“The military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in preparation for additional launches,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff explained. “We strongly condemn North Korea’s missile launch as an obvious provocation that seriously threatens the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.” 

The South Korean military added that the missile launches were targeted at the island of Alsom, off the coast of Gilju-gun, North Hamgyong Province. 

The trajectory of the launch on April 22, 2024 (Credit: Japanese Ministry of Defense)

A map shared by the Japanese authorities shows that the missile followed a similar path to a simulated tactical nuclear strike conducted by North Korea on August 30, 2023, in response to a joint military exercise by the United States and South Korea.  

Back then, the General Staff of the [North] Korean People’s Army said that the two missiles launched from Pyongyang International Airport (FNJ) were targeted at Yang-do Island in the North Hamgyong Province. 

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