North Korea fired a suspected long-range ballistic missile towards the East Sea, escalating tensions after accusing US spy aircraft of intruding into its exclusive economic zone. The South Korean military, without providing further details, confirmed the launch from an area near Pyongyang. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated that they are closely monitoring the situation and maintaining readiness in coordination with the United States.
Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, issued strong statements warning of “clear and resolute” actions against US surveillance flights in North Korea’s economic water zone. However, the South Korean military dismissed these claims, asserting the freedom of navigation and overflight in the exclusive economic zone.
The missile launch coincides with important diplomatic and security events, including the ongoing NATO Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. At the NATO Summit, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is expected to discuss security cooperation against North Korea’s military threats with other leaders.
This recent launch follows North Korea’s unsuccessful attempt in late May to launch a space rocket carrying its first military reconnaissance satellite. The rocket experienced an abnormal start of the second-stage engine, resulting in a crash into the Yellow Sea, as reported by North Korean state media.