(ATTN: UPDATES with U.S. reconnaissance plane operation in last para)
By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired one short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) into the East Sea on Thursday, its second missile provocation in a little over a week, according to the South Korean military.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Wonsan area in Kangwon Province at 10:48 a.m., and that the missile flew some 240 kilometers at an apogee of around 47 km at a top speed of Mach 4.
Shortly before the launch, the South and the U.S. staged a "preplanned" missile defense exercise involving the allies' Aegis-equipped destroyers, the JCS said.
"The series of North Korean ballistic missile launches are acts of significant provocation that undermine peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community, and a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions," it said in a text message sent to reporters.
It added that the South Korean military will maintain a firm readiness posture while tracking and monitoring related North Korean movements.
The launch came shortly after North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui warned the North will take "fiercer" military actions if the United States sticks to a move to strengthen its "extended deterrence" commitment to regional allies.
Extended deterrence refers to America's pledge to use a full range of its military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, to defend its allies.
U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed that pledge during a trilateral summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the margins of annual regional gatherings in Phnom Penh on Sunday.
The North previously fired an SRBM into the East Sea on Nov. 9.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military sent an RC-135V Rivet Joint reconnaissance plane over a central part of the peninsula hours after the missile launch, according to the aviation tracker, Flightradar24. The move appears aimed at monitoring the North's military activities.
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