SEOUL, Nov. 17 (UPI) — North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on Thursday, the South Korean military said, hours after Pyongyang issued a warning to the United States and its allies of a “fiercer” response to their increasing security cooperation.
The missile was fired from the coastal town of Wonsan and traveled around 150 miles at a maximum altitude of 29 miles, according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“North Korea’s series of ballistic missile launches are serious provocations that undermine peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community,” the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.
The South Korean and U.S. militaries held a “pre-planned” missile defense exercise before the launch, the JCS added.
The launch came hours after North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the trilateral summit held on Sunday by the United States, South Korea and Japan at which the allies pledged to “strengthen deterrence” against threats from Pyongyang.
The summit will “finally result in bringing the situation on the Korean [P]eninsula to an unpredictable phase,” Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency.
“The keener the U.S. is on the ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence’ to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluffing military activities on the Korean [P]eninsula … the fiercer the DPRK’s military counteraction will be,” Choe said.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
“The U.S. will be well aware that it is gambling for which it will certainly regret,” she added.
U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed the United States’ guarantee of extended deterrence to South Korea and Japan at the summit, which was held on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Washington has pledged the full range of its military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, in defense of its allies.
North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including several intercontinental ballistic missile launches. Officials in Seoul and Washington have assessed that the North has completed preparations to conduct a nuclear test, which would be its seventh overall and first since 2017.