North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea says

Two short-range ballistic missiles from North Korea were fired into the sea near its east coast Tuesday by South Korea’s military. This was the latest in a series of weapons tests that the South and United States are conducting as part of their largest joint military drills for years.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles flew approximately 620 kms after being fired from South Hwanghae, a province near the country’s west coast.

According to the JCS, the South Korean military was at high alert and maintained a full readiness posture in close coordination of the United States.

Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, stated that Japan was gathering information about the missile and that they haven’t confirmed any damage to Japan as a result.

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Hirokazu Matsuno, the Japanese chief cabinet secretary, stated that it has not been confirmed that missiles entered Japan’s territory or economic exclusive zones.

Matsuno stated that “we see there is a chance that North Korea will increase its provocative actions, such as missile launches and nuclear testing.” “We will continue to work closely with the U.S., South Korea and other countries regarding North Korea’s military actions and collect and analyse information using surveillance.”

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command stated that the recent launches were not an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory or allies. However, it said that the North’s illegal weapons programs had destabilizing effects.

South Korea’s military “strongly condemned North Korea,” calling repeated missile launches a grave provocation threatening the region’s security and peace. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department called the launches a violation of numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

A spokesperson for South Korea’s defense ministry stated that the alliance South Korea-U.S. will continue to train and exercise as planned, even if North Korea attempts to impede our Freedom Shield drills by launching provocations.

Two days ago, North Korea tested two strategic cruise missiles out of a submarine. This launch also comes less than a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un directed the military to increase drills to prevent and respond to “real war.”

On Monday, South Korean and American forces began 11 consecutive days of joint drills. They were dubbed Freedom Shield 23. The drills will be conducted on a scale never seen since 2017 in an effort to counter North Korea’s growing threats. The drills of the allies have been viewed by North Korea as an invasion rehearsal.

According to KCNA, the North Korean state media reported that the country had decided to implement “important practical” measures of war deterrence. They stated that “war provocations by the U.S.A. and South Korea have reached the red-line.”

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Adviser, stated Monday that the U.S. would not allow “any North Korean steps to deter us from taking the necessary actions to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

On Friday, the United States will host an informal meeting of members of United Nations Security Council on human rights abuses in North Korea.

The North Korean foreign ministry denounced the meeting as an “intensive expression” of U.S. hostility against Pyongyang and warned that it would take “the toughest counteraction.”