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North Korean ballistic missiles pose ‘no immediate threat’ to US, allies

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea between Korean Peninsula and Japan, the second weapons test in several days as US military’s Indo-Pacific Command dismissed the threat.

People watch a TV broadcasting file footage of a report on North Korea firing what appeared to be a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea. September 15, 2021
People watch a TV broadcasting file footage of a report on North Korea firing what appeared to be a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea. September 15, 2021 (Reuters)

North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea in defiance of UN resolutions, the second weapons test in several days.

The North Korean missile launches on Wednesday do not pose an immediate threat to the United States or its allies, the American military’s Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.

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“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” it said, referring to North Korea by its official name.

How far did they fly?

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday, South Korean military said.

According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that the missiles were fired from central inland areas of the country.

The JCS said the missiles flew about 800 kilometres (497 miles) on an apogee of 60 kilometres (37 miles) before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

“Our military maintains a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the US,” the agency quoted JCS as saying.

“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.”

Japan’s coast guard said no ships or aircraft reported damage from the missiles.

Last weekend, North Korea also carried out a test of its new long-range cruise missile.

Cruise missiles are not banned under UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, but ballistic missile tests are a violation of the resolutions.

Last month, the US and South Korea held joint military exercises opposed by Pyongyang, which called them “a threat to their security.”

Officials in North Korea’s neighbouring countries have been meeting in recent days to figure out how to deal with the situation.

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