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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

N Korea believed to fire 2nd ballistic missile

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North Korea is believed to have launched the second ballistic missile, the Japan Coast Guard said early Wednesday, citing the Japanese Defense Ministry.

“According to the data of the ministry of defense, North Korea launched what is believed to be a ballistic missile,” the coast guard said, urging maritime and airborne vessels to monitor the information.

All maritime and airborne vessels were also urged to report to Japan’s maritime security services if any fallen fragments of the missiles are found and warned against approaching the debris, the coast guard said.

Both missiles are believed to have landed outside the exclusive economic zone of Japan, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported, citing government sources.

North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan earlier on Wednesday, which is believed to have already landed, according to the coast guard.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that Japan protests the launches.

“[The Japanese government] convened an emergency meeting to deal with this situation. Through the diplomatic channel in Beijing we have [expressed] strict criticism against DPRK [North Korea],” Matsuno told a briefing, adding that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered the government to keep the country’s population informed on further developments.

He also said that Japan intends to work closely with the international community, “especially with the United States,” in order to protect the people’s “lives and livelihood.”

The altitude of the ballistic missiles believed to be launched by North Korea earlier on Wednesday reached 50 kilometers (31 miles), and the flight range stood from 350-650 kilometers, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported, citing Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Jiro Kimura as saying.

The second missile could be launched on a variable trajectory, the news agency reported.

It is Pyongyang’s 17th launch of ballistic missiles this year. The last time North Korea launched two ballistic missiles was on August 30, with the missiles’ altitude estimated at 50 kilometers and the flight range at 350-400 kilometers.

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