North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile a day after it was claimed 800,000 had volunteered to fight US

Tokyo, Japan(CNN) North Korea launched a “suspected ballistic missile” on Sunday, the Japanese Defense Ministry reported.

The news follows a series of missile tests by North Korea, including the launch of a long-range ballistic missile on Thursday when leaders from South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo, as well as two cruise missiles from a submarine and two short-range ballistic missiles days earlier.

The Japan Coast Guard said in a statement released at 11:20 a.m. local time that the missile launched on Sunday appeared to have landed.

It warned all ships to await further information; do not approach fallen objects; and report anything suspicious.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) also said they spotted a short-range ballistic missile fired from the Dongchang-ri area of ​​North Pyongan province in North Korea around 11:05 a.m. local time.

The JCS said the military had increased surveillance and vigilance in preparation for further launches “while maintaining a full state of readiness through close cooperation with the US.”

Pyongyang’s latest tests coincide with joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea in the spring — the largest war games the allies have hosted in five years.

Before the 11-day Freedom Shield exercises, North Korea had threatened to take the “strongest countermeasures against the most vicious conspiracies by the US and its supporters”.

Sunday’s ballistic missile launch came a day after North Korea said about 800,000 of its citizens had volunteered to join or re-enlist in the country’s military to fight the United States.

State-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Saturday that about 800,000 students and workers across the country expressed a desire to enlist or re-enlist in the military on Friday alone to take a stand against the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accused the United States and South Korea of ​​increasing tensions over the military exercises.

North Korea often responds to what it sees as “provocations” by the United States with threats of war. Experts say that in addition to joint military exercises and this week’s meeting between South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japan’s leader Fumio Kishida, US President Joe Biden’s plan to welcome Yoon and his wife to the White House next month has taken a toll receive.

The state visit will be the second of Biden’s presidency and will underscore the close ties between the US and South Korea and will take place on April 26. Conservative Yoon and his government have made strengthening the US-South Korea alliance a key foreign policy priority. Biden has also attempted to nurture the relationship, including with the symbolic token of his trip to Seoul in May 2022, his first stop on his inaugural trip to Asia as president.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University, recently told CNN that in response to the exercises and the summits, Pyongyang is “ordering longer-range missile launches, attempting to launch a spy satellite, demonstrating a solid-fuel engine, and maybe even a nuclear test.” carry out.”

With prior coverage by CNN’s Gawon Bae


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