North Korea instills fear in Japan: launches "unprecedented" ballistic missiles

North Korea on Sunday launched 8 short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off its east coast, the South Korean General Staff said. Japan described the action as “unprecedented.”

The missiles were launched from the Sunan area, near the North Korean capital Pyongyang, in the waters of the eastern Korean peninsula, on Sunday, between 9:08 and 9:43, local time in Seoul, according to the General Staff.

South Korea’s national security chief Kim Sung-han will hold a meeting of the National Security Council’s standing committee to discuss the launch, the presidential bureau said.

The rocket marks North Korea’s 17th launch this year. The latest, on May 25, came just as US President Joe Biden was ending his trip to Asia and returning to the United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has “strongly protested” against North Korea’s multiple missile launches, telling reporters that they are a clear violation of UN resolutions.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi described the launch as “unprecedented” and confirmed that at least six missiles launched by North Korea had fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“The extremely high number of launches from at least three places in a short period of time is unprecedented,” he said, adding that rocket launches that threaten international peace and security cannot be tolerated.

Japan has formally protested North Korea’s latest actions through diplomatic channels with Beijing, Kishi said.

In response to Sunday’s launch, the South Korean military has stepped up its surveillance and “cooperates closely and maintains a fully prepared position with the United States,” the chief of staff said.

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