North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast, South Korea’s military said on Monday, as the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong-un warned of turning the Pacific into a “firing range,” heightening tensions in the region.
Other details of the missile, including its flight range, were not immediately available.
Japan’s coast guard said North Korea launched three projectiles that could be ballistic missiles shortly after 2200 GMT, all of which fell within minutes. All three landed outside Japan’s EEZ, public broadcaster NHK said.
The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, issued a statement and warned against the increased presence of U.S. strategic assets on the Korean peninsula.
“We are carefully examining the influence it would exert on the security of our state,” she said in the statement. “The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the U.S. forces’ action character.”
The launch comes just two days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea off Japan’s west coast, in what it called a “sudden launching drill.”
Monday’s missile launch is the North’s third major weapons test this year after Pyongyang threatened an “unprecedentedly persistent, strong” response as South Korea and the United States geared up for their annual military exercises as part of efforts to fend off the growing nuclear and missile threat posed by the North.