Details of the launch are being analyzed by South Korean and US authorities. But Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it “could be a ballistic missile” – which can be used to carry large nuclear warheads and is banned under United Nations sanctions.
The test took place early Tuesday as North Korea’s ambassador to the UN said no one could deny his country’s right to self-defense and to test weapons.
Kim Song accused the United States of hostility and said that his country’s development of a “war deterrent” was a necessity to defend against American threats.
He called on the Biden administration to end joint military exercises with South Korea for good and accused Seoul of betraying the inter-Korean peace accords by prioritizing its Western ally over “national harmony.”
North Korea’s latest move follows two previous ballistic and cruise missile tests earlier this month.
Seoul Joint Chiefs of Staff did not immediately say what the North threw in its last test on the Korean Peninsula, or how far the weapon had traveled.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said the launch posed no immediate threat to the US or its allies, but added that it underscored the “destabilizing impact” of Pyongyang’s illicit weapons programs.
North Korea’s nuclear disarmament talks have stalled since Donald Trump’s second meeting with Kim Jong Un in 2019, when the former US president rejected a request for major sanctions relief.
Kim Jong Un has so far rejected the Biden administration’s dialogue initiatives, demanding that Washington’s “hostile” policies be scrapped first.
The United States is keeping around 28,000 troops in South Korea to help deter possible North Korean aggression.
Seoul and Washington say their exercises are defensive in nature, but they have canceled or reduced them in recent years to create space for diplomacy or in response to the coronavirus pandemic.