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ROK says DPRK fires short-range ballistic missile into eastern waters

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-19 09:38
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People watch a TV broadcasting file footage of a news report on the DPRK firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, the ROK, October 19, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired a short-range ballistic missile into the eastern waters, the Republic of Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday.

The JCS said in a statement that the ROK military detected one unidentified short-range ballistic missile, which the DPRK launched at about 10:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT) toward the East Sea from the eastern coast of Sinpo, South Hamgyong province in the eastern DPRK.

It noted that the missile was estimated to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), saying the intelligence authorities of the ROK and the United States were analyzing further details on the missile.

The JCS added that the ROK military was closely monitoring the relevant situations and maintaining its readiness posture under close cooperation with the United States to prepare for possible further launches.

According to Yonhap News Agency, it was known that the missile flew eastward 430-450 km at an altitude of 60 km.

If confirmed it would mark the first SLBM test launch by the DPRK in about two years. In October 2019, the DPRK said it succeeded in test-firing a new type of SLBM, known as Pukguksong-3.

Under the UN Security Council resolution, Pyongyang is banned from testing any ballistic missile technology.

In response to the DPRK's missile launch, the ROK presidential Blue House convened the National Security Council (NSC) emergency meeting.

The NSC expressed deep regret over the missile launch as it was conducted when ROK's active consultations are underway with the United States, China, Japan, Russia and other major countries to advance the Korean Peninsula peace process.

The council urged the DPRK to rapidly come forward for dialogue, emphasizing that the peninsula's stable situation is currently more necessary than ever.

During his speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, ROK President Moon Jae-in proposed a political declaration to terminate the 1950-53 Korean War.

The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war as the fratricidal war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The DPRK staged several missile tests in September amid deadlocked denuclearization talks with the United States.

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un said last week that there has been "no behavioral ground" to believe the recent U.S. signaling that Washington is not hostile to Pyongyang, slamming the ROK for its "double standards" to continue to boost military capabilities.

Kim, however, noted that the DPRK's enemy is a "war itself, not a certain country or forces like South Korea and the United States."

On Sept 15, ROK said it successfully test-fired a homegrown SLBM which was launched underwater from a domestically-developed 3,000-ton submarine.

Tuesday's missile launch marked the eighth saber-rattling by the DPRK this year.

The DPRK said it tested its newly-developed hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 on Sept. 28, after launching two ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Sept. 15. It also tested its newly-developed anti-aircraft missile on Sept. 30.

Pyongyang test-fired cruise missiles into the western waters on Jan. 22 and March 21, before testing ballistic missiles into the eastern waters on March 25. It also test-launched long-range cruise missiles on Sept. 11-12.

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