North Korea Launches 2 Ballistic Missiles, in Violation of UN Sanctions

The U.S. military denounced the launches, urged North Korea to stop its ‘unlawful and destabilizing acts.’

North Korea launched two ballistic missiles early on July 1—one of which South Korea says may have failed—in violation of multiple U.N. sanctions.

The missiles were launched from the Jangyon area of South Hwanghae Province on North Korea’s west coast in a northeastern direction, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), meaning that the missiles would have flown across North Korea.

The launches came just two days after the United States, South Korea, and Japan wrapped up their first joint exercises in the region.

The U.S. military said it was aware of the missile launches.

The JCS identified the first missile as a short-range ballistic missile, which was launched at around 5:05 a.m. local time and flew about 372 miles.

The second missile was fired 10 minutes later, traveling 74 miles. The landing locations of the missiles haven’t been specified.

The second missile may have failed and blown up during an irregular flight, possibly raining debris inland, South Korean military spokesperson Lee Sung-joon said.

The South Korean military condemned the missile tests as a “provocative act” and vowed to maintain “overwhelming readiness” against any future launches.

“While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance against additional launches, our military is maintaining a full-readiness posture while sharing North Korean ballistic missile data with U.S. and Japanese authorities,” it stated.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has also denounced the launches and urged North Korea to stop its “unlawful and destabilizing acts.”

The U.S. military said that it was in close consultation with South Korea and Japan regarding North Korea’s missile launches and reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of its allies.

“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, or territory, or to our allies, we continue to monitor the situation,” it said in a statement.

The second missile on July 1 would be the second failed launch in five days. South Korea’s military said the North fired what appeared to be a hypersonic missile on June 26 but it spiraled out of control and exploded.

The first missile fired on July 1 appeared to be similar to the North’s KN-23 short-range ballistic missile, which is believed to have been used by Russia against Ukraine, although Pyongyang and Moscow deny that.

North Korea said last week it had successfully conducted an important test aimed at developing missiles carrying multiple warheads, a claim rejected by South Korea as “deception” to mask a failed launch.The missile launches came just days after the United States, South Korea, and Japan concluded their first multi-domain trilateral exercise, dubbed “Freedom Edge,” on June 29. The three-day drill was announced in August last year following the Shangri-La Dialogue.

On June 19, North Korea and Russia signed a deal that included a pledge for each party to provide military assistance if either one of them is attacked.

The U.S. allies responded by saying they would continue their efforts to boost “diplomatic and security cooperation” to counter the ongoing North Korean threats, with the United States reaffirming its “ironclad” commitments to defending South Korea and Japan. They also urged North Korea to cease further provocations and return to negotiations.

It “should be of grave concern to anyone with an interest in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global non-proliferation regime, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against Russia’s brutal aggression,” they said in response to the announcement of the Moscow–Pyongyang “strategic partnership” treaty.

The “Freedom Edge” drill involved the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as destroyers, aircraft, and ships from the three allied nations.

The exercise aimed to enhance the nations’ cooperation in ballistic missile defense, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction, defensive cyber training, and other capabilities.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the U.S.–Japan–South Korea trilateral drill, labeling it as “reckless and provocative military muscle-flexing” against North Korea.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea said the drill has taken on the “full-fledged appearance of Asian-version NATO” and warned that it will lead to “fatal consequences.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated on X on June 27 that the drills were a “direct result of the leadership demonstrated at last year’s Camp David Summit.”

“In this new era of trilateral security cooperation, our combined will to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific has never been stronger,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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