OAN’s Abril Elfi
3:13 PM – Sunday, December 17, 2023
North Korea has launched a missile into the East Sea and has reportedly blamed the United States for the increase in military tension on the Korean Peninsula.
According to South Korea, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile into the sea on Sunday, potentially as a protest against recent moves by Seoul and Washington to strengthen their nuclear deterrent against North Korean threats.
The missile was fired at approximately 10:38 p.m. from a location close to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and traveled 354 miles before splashing down in the sea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea.
The South Korean military announced that it was providing the launch data to the U.S. and Japan for additional analysis while keeping an eye out for potential North Korean military actions.
The launch was denounced as a “blatant violation” of resolutions passed by the U.N. Security Council prohibiting North Korea from utilizing ballistic technologies.
Following high-level security discussions over the weekend in Washington, DPRK and US officials decided to update their nuclear deterrence and contingency plans and include nuclear operation scenarios in their combined military exercises next summer in order to meet the North’s evolving threats. This was the immediate cause of North Korea’s most recent launch.
North Korea’s Defense Ministry swiftly condemned Washington and Seoul’s decision to incorporate nuclear operation scenarios in their joint drills, calling it an open threat to use nuclear weapons against the North and promising to prepare unidentified “offensive countermeasures.”
The North Korean ministry further criticized the U.S. for what it called a “reckless military threat” that was destabilizing the region, accusing it of sending more and more powerful military equipment, such as nuclear-powered submarines and strategic bombers, to South Korea as a show of strength.
“The armed forces of the DPRK will thoroughly neutralize the U.S. and its vassal forces’ attempt to ignite a nuclear war and thus reliably ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula,” a ministry spokesman said.
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