North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Off East Coast, South Korea Reports

North Korea launched a ballistic missile off its east coast on Monday, according to South Korea’s military. This follows North Korea’s declaration of “offensive and overwhelming” responses to protest a recent U.S. military drill with South Korea and Japan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the launch on Monday morning but provided no details regarding the missile’s trajectory.

The launch occurred two days after the U.S., South Korea, and Japan concluded their new multidomain trilateral drills. The “Freedom Edge” drill involved a U.S. aircraft carrier and destroyers, fighter jets and helicopters from the three nations, and practiced missile defense, anti-submarine, and maritime interdiction drills.

On Sunday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the three-way drill. The statement labelled the exercise as an Asian version of NATO, detrimental to the security environment on the Korean Peninsula, and driven by U.S. intentions to pressure Russia and contain China.

The North’s Foreign Ministry vowed to “firmly defend the sovereignty, security, and interests of the state and peace in the region through offensive and overwhelming countermeasures.”

Monday’s launch marked North Korea’s first weapons firing in five days. Last Wednesday, North Korea launched a multiwarhead missile, claiming it was a developmental, advanced weapon designed to defeat U.S. and South Korean missile defenses. North Korea asserted the launch’s success, while South Korea dismissed this claim as deception masking a failed launch.

In recent weeks, North Korea has sent numerous trash-carrying balloons towards South Korea, a retaliatory act in response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets via their own balloons.

Meanwhile, North Korea commenced a key ruling party meeting on Friday to address what they termed “important, immediate issues” regarding efforts to enhance . During the meeting’s second session on Saturday, leader Kim Jong-un discussed “some deviations obstructing” the country’s economic progress and unspecified critical tasks to resolve immediate policy concerns, according to North Korea’s state media report on Sunday.