International. Ahead of Kamala Harris’ visit to South Korea, North Korea relaunches a ballistic missile
North Korea fired an « unidentified ballistic missile », the South Korean army announced on Wednesday, just days after its last test, and before a visit to South Korea by US Vice President Kamala Harris. « North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile in the East Sea, » Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, referring to the waters commonly known as the Sea of Japan.
The Japanese Coast Guard also confirmed the possibility of a ballistic missile launch, citing information from the Tokyo Defense Ministry, and asked ships to be vigilant. The launch is part of an unprecedented series of Pyongyang weapons tests this year.
Joint exercises by the United States and South Korea conducted this week
Seoul’s intelligence agency has warned that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct another nuclear test. The North has completed “a third tunnel at its Punggye-ri nuclear site,” MK Yoo Sang-bum told reporters after a Secret Service meeting in Seoul.
US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected in Seoul on Thursday for a brief visit, during which she will travel to the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. This week, the nuclear-powered ship USS Ronald Reagan conducted joint exercises with the South Korean Navy in the waters of the peninsula.
Washington is Seoul’s main security ally and about 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea. The two countries have long conducted joint exercises, which they claim are purely defensive, but which North Korea considers rehearsals for an invasion.