North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Again
Seoul/Tokyo, March 19 (Jiji Press)--North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan on Sunday morning, the South Korean military and the Japanese Defense Ministry said.
Meanwhile, a U.S. B-1B strategic bomber conducted joint drills Sunday with an F-35A stealth fighter jet of the South Korean Air Force over the Korean Peninsula and with an F-15 fighter jet of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force over the Sea of Japan. The B-1B bomber, dubbed the "swan of death," is said to be one of the weapons most feared by North Korea.
The North Korean missile, launched around 11:05 a.m. (2:05 a.m. GMT) from the Tongchang-ri area in the northwestern part of the country, traveled about 800 kilometers and is believed to have fallen into waters outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. With its maximum altitude reaching only about 50 kilometers, the missile may have flown on an irregular trajectory, which makes it difficult for the missile to be intercepted.
It was the first ballistic missile launch by North Korea since last Thursday, when a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching the whole U.S. mainland, was fired toward the Sea of Japan, and the seventh this year.
Through the repeated missile launches, the reclusive state apparently tried to demonstrate its frustration at the ongoing U.S.-South Korea Freedom Shield joint exercises, which started last Monday and are slated to run until Thursday.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]