North Korea — Kim Jong-un’s regime fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Friday, according to officials at the South Korea’s military. These actions come in a context where South Korea and the United States are conducting military exercises in conjunction.

Two ballistic missiles were carefully tracked and monitored by the South Korean military and by U.S. officials. It appears that one projectile flew approximately 500 miles from North Korea, before impacting the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

According to South Korea officials, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Friday. Credit: Flipboard

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the weapon could be identified as a Rodong missile, which is a medium-range ballistic projectile. Rodong is the Korean word for “labor.” In North Korea, it denotes the working class.

Registers would appear to show that both Rodong projectiles were fired at 5:55 a.m., from a mobile missile vehicle located in the western area of Sukchon, according to Yonhap News, the South’s Korea largest news agency. Last time that North Korea launched a similar projectile was in March 2014.

It appears that a Rodong ballistic missile (Nodong in South Korea) could be loaded with high explosives or chemical munitions in its warhead. North Korea has communicated its displeasure about the annual drills carried out by the U.S. and South Korea, describing them as a rehearsal for invasion. On the other hand, a military official said to Yonhap News Agency that provocations caused by North Korea could lead to a deeper inter-Korean crisis.

“North Korea is highly likely to bring inter-Korean tensions to a crisis-like level through further hardcore provocations,” a military official said, adding that the military is keeping close tabs on the situation, according to Yonhap News.

The launch has been already confirmed by U.S. officials, as reported by CNN. A similar menace took place a week ago, when North Korea launched two projectiles from North Hwanghae province, towards the sea east of the Korean Peninsula.

Military exercises conducted by South Korea alongside the U.S. are huge

Currently, 17,000 U.S. military personnel and 300,000 South Korean troops are conducting “the largest ever” joint military exercises that have been ever done in South Korea, according to South Korean Defense Ministry.

Earlier on February, North Korea said it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. On March 9, Kim Jong-un’s regime said at local media that the country had developed miniaturized nuclear warheads that could be fit into ballistic missiles.  

As a result of war threats, nuclear tests and rocket launches, carried out by the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the United Nations has decided to impose severe sanctions against it, under the Resolution 2270.

“This resolution contains the toughest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades, and includes mandatory cargo inspections, sectoral sanctions on North Korean trade in natural resources,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a press statement published on March 2.

Source: Yonhap News