North Korea Launches 3 Ballistic Missiles, First Since January; Projectiles Believed to Have Come Down Outside Japan’s EEZ (Update 1)

Reuters file photo
The flag of North Korea

North Korea launched three ballistic missiles from the country’s west coast on Monday morning, two at around 7:44 a.m. and one at around 8:21 a.m., the Japanese Defense Ministry said.

The missiles were fired northeast. All are believed to have come down near the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the ministry said.

According to the ministry and other sources, all three missiles had a maximum altitude of about 50 kilometers and flew about 350 kilometers. No damage to aircraft or ships had been confirmed.

This was North Korea’s first ballistic missile launch since it sent up an intermediate-range class missile on Jan. 14, which Pyongyang claimed was a test launch of a hypersonic missile. As for missile launches overall, it was the first since a surface-to-ship missile launch on Feb. 14 and may have been a provocation by North Korea ahead of South Korea’s general election on April. 10.

On Monday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed relevant ministries and agencies to do their utmost to gather and analyze information and provide the public with prompt, accurate information. He also held a National Security Council meeting with its four ministers and confirmed to work closely with the United States, South Korea and other countries concerned.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Kishida said Monday at the House of Councillors’ Budget Committee meeting. “It is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and I strongly condemn it.”