US submarine arrival sparks North Korean missile launch and condemnation

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North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday, condemning US-led military activities and characterising the arrival of a US submarine in South Korea as a precursor to “a preview of a nuclear war.”

The missile, aimed towards North Korea’s east coast, covered approximately 570km (350 miles) before descending into the ocean, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

This move follows warnings from Seoul and Tokyo about potential missile tests, including the possibility of testing one of its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) this month, heightening tensions in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

In response to the launch, South Korea’s JCS emphasised, “North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launch is a clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution, which prohibits the use of ballistic missile technology and scientific and technological cooperation.”

Swiftly, North Korean state media released a statement from the defence ministry, criticising the US and South Korea for military drills, displays of force, and nuclear war planning.

The statement specifically pointed to the presence of the US nuclear-powered submarine USS Missouri in South Korea, asserting that the DPRK’s armed forces would neutralise attempts to initiate a nuclear war.

The spokesperson also criticised the second Nuclear Consultative Group meeting between South Korea and the US in Washington, accusing the allies of escalating tensions through increased military displays.

The launch triggered real-time information sharing between the United States, Japan, and South Korea, marking the operationalisation of a missile information-sharing system. Although the missile fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the incident raised concerns about North Korea’s missile capabilities and its defiance of international resolutions.

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