EU chief slams North Korea missile over Japan as 'unjustified aggression'

OCT 4, 2022 LISTEN

EU chief Charles Michel on Tuesday condemned North Korea's firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, saying the bloc "stands in solidarity" with Tokyo and Seoul. 

"Strongly condemn North Korea's deliberate attempt to jeopardize security in the region by firing a ballistic missile over Japan. An unjustified aggression and blatant violation of international law," European Council head Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

South Korean and US fighter jets carried out precision bombing drills on Tuesday, Seoul's military said, in response to the North Korean firing of an Intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan.

North Korea fired the missile on Tuesday, with a trajectory over Japan, Seoul and Tokyo said, a significant escalation as Pyongyang ramps up its record-breaking weapons-testing blitz.

The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was reportedly in 2017, at the height of a period of "fire and fury" when Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un traded insults with then-US president Donald Trump.

South Korea's military said it had "detected one suspected medium-range ballistic missile that was launched from Mupyong-ri area of Jagang Province at around 7:23 am (22:23 GMT) today and passed over Japan in the eastern direction."

In a statement, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military was "maintaining a full readiness posture and closely cooperating with the United States while strengthening surveillance and vigilance".

Tokyo also confirmed the launch of a suspected ballistic missile by Pyongyang, activating the country's missile alert warning system and issuing evacuation warnings.

"A ballistic missile is believed to have passed over our country and fallen in the Pacific Ocean. This is an act of violence following recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn this," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.

South Korea drills

In response to Pyongyang firing its missile, South Korean and US fighter jets carried out precision bombing drills Tuesday, Seoul's military said.

 "With the participation of four South Korean Air Force F-15Ks and four US Air Force F-16 fighters, South Korea's F-15K fired two joint direct attack munition (JDAM) bombs against a virtual target at the Jikdo shooting field in the West Sea," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, referring to the Yellow Sea.

The drills aimed to demonstrate the allies' "capabilities to conduct a precision strike at the origin of provocations," they added.

(With agencies)