Soon after North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the East Sea this morning, Japan and South Korea announced the holding of an emergency meeting to address threats to their territory.
The dual launch follows the firing of a “strategic” long-range cruise missile two days ago, drawing sharp reactions from the South. The missile is said to have hit targets 1,500 km away, a range that is enough to strike all of Japan including U.S. military bases there.
The foreign ministers of South Korea and China met in Seoul on Wednesday amid concerns over this test. A day earlier, top nuclear envoys from Japan, the United States and South Korea held talks in Tokyo to discuss North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes.
The nuclear-armed North fired the two missiles on September 15 from its central inland area into the sea off its east coast, the South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. The missiles were reportedly fired just after 12.30pm (03:30 GMT), flying 800 km to a maximum altitude of 60 km.
Japan’s Coast Guard also reported an object – possibly a ballistic missile – landing outside its exclusive economic zone.
“The firings threaten the peace and safety of Japan and the region and are absolutely outrageous,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. “The government of Japan is determined to further step up our vigilance and surveillance to be prepared for any contingencies,” he said.
Both Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened sessions of their national security councils to discuss the launches.