SEOUL, North Korea may have launched two rockets simultaneously on Wednesday in order to confuse early warning satellites and the missile defense systems of South Korea, the United States and Japan.
South Korean and Japanese diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Kyodo news agency Pyongyang may have intentionally fired two projectiles, one of which exploded mid-air on Wednesday.
The strategy was likely implemented to thwart tracking systems on Aegis destroyers and other technology that detect incoming missiles, according to the sources.
The mid-range Rodong missile that traveled for about 620 miles before falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone took Tokyo by surprise.
North Korea used a similar strategy on June 22, firing two projectiles, including a mid-range Musudan missile. One of the missiles exploded mid-air while the second launch was deemed a “success.”
Kyodo news also reported there was initial confusion in South Korea and Japan about the number of missiles that were fired. Some estimates ranged from 3-4 projectiles because of the simultaneous firings.
Japan is reevaluating its missile defense system in response to the recent North Korea provocations, South Korean news network YTN reported.
Tokyo is considering a 24-hour surveillance system after Wednesday, when a command to destroy the incoming missile was not issued after the projectile had entered Japan’s maritime zone.
On June 21 Tokyo’s defense ministry placed surface-to-air guided missile interceptors in local territory as part of an emergency measure.