North Korea fired another ballistic missile early Monday, this one a Scud-type projectile, according to the Yonhap news agency, quoting the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The missile flew approximately 450 kilometers (280 miles) after being launched eastward from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon Province at 5:39 am, according to the report.
The launch was confirmed by the U.S. Pacific Command, which tracked the missile until it landed in the East Sea, near Japanese territory — prompting a strong condemnation from Tokyo.
“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is highly problematic from the perspective of the safety of shipping and air traffic, and is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, according to Yonhap.
U.S. President Donald Trump was immediately briefed on the incident.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” said the Hawaii-based command in an emailed statement. “U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan.”
According to Yonhap, North Korea recently developed a new missile called the Scud-ER (extended range), capable of flying up to 1,000 kilometers – as far as Japan.
Military analysts speculate that Pyongyang may be attempting to develop ballistic missiles capable of targeting American aircraft carriers at sea.
This past Saturday (May 27), North Korea tested a KN-06 surface-to-air guided missile; on May 21, Pyongyang fired the mid-range Pukguksong-2 missile in its second test of this year.
Under a range of United Nations Security Council resolutions, North Korea is banned from launching ballistic missiles or conducting tests using ballistic missile or nuclear technology.
This past weekend, the leaders of the G-7 (Group of Seven) member nations — including the United States — agreed North Korea “increasingly poses new levels of threat of a grave nature to international peace and stability.”
The United States is planning to test its first anti-intercontinental ballistic missile defense system on Tuesday, according to an announcement by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
An interceptor from an existing system at Vandenburg Air Base in California will be used to neutralize an ICBM-like target over the Pacific Ocean, according to the Missile Defense Agency. This will be the first time the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system is used to intercept an ICBM.