North Korea’s ballistic missile launch towards its eastern water body has sparked an intense reaction from neighbouring Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said that the recent launches were "absolutely intolerable". On Tuesday, North Korea unleashed its missile power by firing an intermediate-range missile over Japan, causing panic and forcing Japanese authorities to initiate evacuation plans and halt public transportation. Just two days later, Pyongyang fired two more short-range ballistic missiles, moments after US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was redeployed near the Korean Peninsula.
Responding to the carrier’s redeployment, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Reagan is "a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity".
According to a statement by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles launched on Thursday were fired 22 minutes apart and landed between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. While the first ballistic missile covered a distance of 350 kilometers, the second missile, which followed an uneven trajectory, flew 800 kilometers.
According to Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, the second missile had an “irregular” trajectory, which signals a weapon's ability to steer in different directions and avert missile defenses.
Following the launches, the South Korean army has amped up its surveillance and has established close contact with the US Indo-Pacific Command.
Furthermore, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office stated that talks were held with National Security Director Kim Sung-han to schedule an emergency meeting in order to plan and prepare protocols to tackle North Korean provocations in the future, the Associated Press reported.
North Korea’s recent missile demonstration is proof of leader Kim Jong Un’s resilient effort to consolidate the country’s nuclear arsenal, with experts claiming that the end goal is to lift the United States’ sanctions.
North Korea, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, has fired almost 40 ballistic missiles during more than 20 events this year, citing its growing nuclear arsenal to the Russia-Ukraine war. The country, according to South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Moon Hong Sik, is “moving accordingly with the timeline it set for itself."