North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of ​​Japan

North Korea's todays's launch of a ballistic missile to Sea of Japan and over 250 garbage-filled balloons toward South Korea led to a temporary shutdown of Seoul's Incheon Airport, escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula

by Sededin Dedovic
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North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of ​​Japan
© Handout / Getty Images

North Korea launched more than 250 balloons with garbage toward South Korea overnight, the South Korean military announced today. This is the sixth such launch since the end of last month, which caused the airport near Seoul to be closed for about three hours, Yonhap reports.

Around 100 balloons, mostly with waste paper and other refuse, landed in Seoul and the northern part of Gyeonggi Province, according to the South Korean military's General Staff. Domestic and international flights were suspended or delayed for about three hours at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, from 1:46 AM local time, Yonhap said.

Analysis of the balloons showed they did not contain toxic materials, according to a South Korean military statement. With the latest series, it is estimated that North Korea has launched more than 2,000 balloons carrying waste since May 28, Yonhap reported.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, previously stated that more balloons would be sent in response to leaflets against the regime in Pyongyang launched by North Korean activists in South Korea. In response, South Korea began broadcasting anti-Pyongyang speeches over loudspeakers in the border zone for the first time in six years on June 9.

The South Korean military stated it is ready to continue broadcasting propaganda over loudspeakers at any time and warned that such psychological warfare would depend on North Korea's actions. The latest balloon launch followed a Friday statement by Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of the North Korean leader, hinting that more balloons would be sent in response to the leaflets against the Pyongyang regime launched by North Korean activists in South Korea.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the sea

The Japanese Coast Guard said that the missile, believed to be a North Korean ballistic missile, appeared to have already fallen into the Sea of Japan.

Japanesse Coast Guard© Jes Aznar / getty Images

North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile toward the sea off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean military announced.

The Japanese Coast Guard said the missile, believed to be a North Korean ballistic missile, appeared to have already fallen into the Sea of Japan, and the Ministry of Defense stated that it had reached an altitude of about 100 kilometers and a range of more than 200 kilometers before falling, Reuters reported.

Earlier this week, North Korea criticized the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier participating in joint exercises with South Korea and Japan. The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan on Saturday to participate in joint military exercises with the host country and Japan later this month, naval officials said.

'Failed test'

The South Korean military stated that it appears the North Korean launch of an unidentified ballistic missile toward the sea off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula was unsuccessful. It appears to be a failed test of a hypersonic missile, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unnamed military source.

The missile launch comes a day after the 74th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Recently, North Korea sent hundreds of balloons with garbage toward Seoul, while Pyongyang deployed a large detachment of soldiers to build new fortifications within the heavily armed border between the two Koreas, according to the South Korean military, occasionally prompting warning shots from South Korean counterparts.

Agreement between Russia and North Korea poses a threat to peace

South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the new agreement between Russia and North Korea as a serious threat to regional peace and stability, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday.

The two diplomats discussed ways to respond to the Moscow-Pyongyang pact during a phone conversation on Thursday and agreed to closely monitor the situation, the ministry said. Blinken stated that the United States supports South Korea's responses to the agreement, in which Russia and North Korea declared that both countries would provide immediate military assistance to each other if either faces armed aggression.

Cho said that any cooperation aimed at strengthening North Korea's military capabilities is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, according to the statement. The United States will consider various ways to respond to the threat to international peace and stability posed by Russia and North Korea, Blinken said, according to the ministry.

South Korea's National Security Advisor Chang Ho-jin stated on Thursday that Seoul would consider the possibility of supplying weapons to Ukraine in response to the Russia-North Korea pact, Reuters reported. The day after, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un threatened to launch more balloons with garbage, which eventually happened.

However, the launch of a ballistic missile is proof that things on the Korean Peninsula are not heading in the right direction.

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