North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast shortly after noon on Monday in a show of force timed to coincide with the G20 summit in China.
The missiles were fired from a region south of Pyongyang and flew about 1,000 kilometers, hitting Japan’s air defense identification zone, according to the South Korean military.
The missiles, believed to be medium-range Rodong-class, were launched as leaders of South Korea and China met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Reuters reports.
“We are still analyzing details but this is a grave threat to our nation’s security, and we express deep concern,” Japan’s defense ministry was quoted as saying in a statement.
The United States condemned the missile tests, describing them as “reckless”.
The “reckless launches by North Korea threaten civil aviation and maritime commerce in the region,” a State Department spokesman said, adding that the US will raise the matter at the United Nations as well as at this week’s East Asia Summit in Laos.
The missile launches were the latest in a series by North Korea this year in violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban all ballistic missile-related activities by the country.
Shortly after the missile launches, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the G20 summit and agreed to cooperate on monitoring the situation.
In 2014, the North fired two medium-range missiles just as Park and Abe were meeting US President Barack Obama at The Hague to discuss responding to the North’s arms program, Reuters noted.
– Contact us at [email protected]