North Korea fires ballistic missile in direction of South Korean island
North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile on Tuesday morning in the direction of South Korean-controlled Ulleung Island, located off the country’s eastern coast, South Korean military officials said.
Detected by the South’s ballistic missile tracking radar systems, the North Korean missile’s trajectory prompted air raid alert messages to be sent automatically at 8:55 a.m., urging the island’s residents to “take shelter underground immediately.”
The state of alert was lifted at 9:08 a.m.
While the North has launched missiles into the East Sea before, this is the first time it fired a missile toward South Korean territory.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the North launched three ballistic missiles on Tuesday morning, one of which was fired toward Ulleung Island. It fell into the sea south of the inter-Korean maritime boundary before reaching the island.
South Korean authorities are currently analyzing details of the launch, such as the range, altitude and speed of the missiles according to the JCS.
The North’s unprecedented firing of a ballistic missile in the direction of a South Korean island came shortly after a statement from an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman released Monday that warned of “more powerful follow-up measures” if the South and the United States “continuously persists in the grave military provocations.”
South Korea and the United States started a large joint air exercise dubbed Vigilant Storm on Monday, mobilizing more than 240 aircraft including F-35A stealth fighters, F-15K jets and KF-16 jets from the South Korean Air Force and F-35B stealth fighters, EA-18 electronic warfare aircraft, KC-135 tankers and U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft from the U.S. military.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]