Japan has stated that the North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile fired on Wednesday off its eastern coast fell into its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Shimane Prefecture.
The escalation that came just hours after North Korea’s state media reported it would restart working-level denuclearization talks on October 5, Saturday.
South Korea’s military said North Korea may have fired an SLBM, which traveled 450 km (280 miles) and reached an altitude of 910 km, The Japan Times reported.
South Korea was reviewing the launch on Wednesday as a possible test of an SLBM, the presidential Blue House said. Seoul also expressed strong concern over the launch.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that there were no reports of damage to ships or planes caused due to the fired SLBM. A second missile fell outside of Japan’s EEZ at 7:17 a.m, Suga said.
If the EEZ landing is confirmed, it would be the first such occurrence since November 29, 2017. An SLBM test itself would mark an escalation from the series of short-range launches that North Korea started in May, involving land-based missiles. It was the first time the regime would’ve fired a submarine-based missile since 2016, the report said.
“The launch of this type of ballistic missile is a violation of United Nations resolutions. Japan strongly protests and condemns the action,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in an emergency news conference. The Foreign Ministry said it talked with the U.S. point man for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, about the launch and they agreed to cooperate with South Korea.
A senior administration official said the US is aware of the missile-launch reports, adding “we are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in the region.”
Kim and Trump agreed at a June 30 meeting in the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula to hold working-level talks in a matter of weeks. But the two sides have not met since then to discuss details of a disarmament deal.