South Korea accuses North Korea of firing missile towards the sea

South Korean military officials say the launch, directed at the East Sea, appears to be unsuccessful.

A wide aerial view of the missile as it climbs through the clouds. There is a wide belt of muddy brown river below.
This file photo from July 2023 shows a Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile launch from North Korea [File: KCNA via Reuters]

North Korea has carried out a suspected unsuccessful missile test, according to South Korea’s military, a day after Pyongyang said it successfully launched a spy satellite.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch came from North Korea’s capital region late on Wednesday. The missile was fired into the sea east of North Korea and the effort apparently failed, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said early on Thursday without giving details, including the type of missile fired.

The North Korean launch came hours after South Korea suspended parts of the 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction agreement in response to the North’s launch on Tuesday of a military spy satellite.

The agreement had created a buffer zone and barred aerial surveillance on the heavily militarised border with the North.

Pyongyang on Thursday said it would deploy stronger armed forces and more military equipment at the border and would no longer be bound by the 2018 military agreement.

South Korea must “pay dearly for their irresponsible and grave political and military provocations that have pushed the present situation to an uncontrollable phase,” North Korea’s defence ministry said in a statement.

On Tuesday, North Korea’s space agency said it had successfully launched a Malligyong-1 satellite into orbit, part of an effort to enhance surveillance capabilities against the United States and South Korean forces.

South Korea and its alllies condemned the launch as a violation of United Nations resolutions. Military authorities in South Korea confirmed that the spy satellite has entered orbit but said they will need additional time to assess whether it is functional.

The White House said the launch “raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his government had made a “strong protest against North Korea”.

North Korea has consistently asserted that building up its surveillance capabilities is a “sovereign right”, striking a defiant tone in the face of widespread opposition and as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula.

The country had tried to launch what it called spy satellites on two previous occasions this year, but both of those efforts ended in failure.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies