The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired three short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Thursday, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) military.
If confirmed, the launches would have come two days after the inauguration of new ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol and would have been the DPRK’s 16th weapons test this year as tensions escalate on the Korean Peninsula and a stalemate in denuclearization talks continues.
The ROK’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launches from the Sunan area of Pyongyang at 6:29 p.m. local time and that the missiles flew some 360 kilometers at a top altitude of about 90 km.
“The North’s recent series of ballistic missile launches are serious provocations that undermine peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the international community,” the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.
Yoon’s National Security Office “strongly” condemned the latest launches, calling the move a serious threat to peace and safety.
In his inauguration address on Tuesday, Yoon offered to revive the DPRK’s economy with an “audacious plan” if it takes steps toward “complete denuclearization.”
DPRK leader Kim Jun Un said in late April that the country will develop its nuclear capabilities “at the fastest pace.”
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, who attended Yoon’s inauguration ceremony, told the ROK president on Tuesday that China sincerely supports Seoul and Pyongyang in improving relations and advancing reconciliation and cooperation.
China stands ready to cement communication with the ROK to advance the peninsula’s denuclearization and promote lasting peace, Wang said.