North Korea fires two missiles into sea after US-South Korea exercises


SEOUL, South Korea—North Korea headed toward the East Sea on Sunday, the latest in a barrage of recent weapons tests, a day after it warned that the redeployment of a US aircraft carrier near the Korean peninsula was causing regional turmoil. fired two short-range ballistic missiles. tension.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected two missile launches from the eastern North Korean coastal city of Munchon between 1:48 a.m. and 1:58 a.m. Sunday. He added that the South Korean military has stepped up surveillance and is working closely with the United States to maintain readiness.

Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino also confirmed the launch, saying North Korea’s test activities threatened regional and international peace and security and were “absolutely unacceptable.”

Ino said the weapon could be a submarine-launched ballistic missile. “We continue to analyze the details of the missile, including the possibility that it was launched from the sea,” Ino said.

North Korea’s pursuit of the ability to launch missiles from submarines would be a worrying development for rivals, as such launches are more difficult to detect in advance. North Korea was believed to have last tested a missile launch from a submarine in May.

South Korean and Japanese forces say the missile flew about 350 kilometers (217 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 90 to 100 kilometers (56 to 60 miles) before falling into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. evaluated.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has individually instructed authorities to collect and analyze all information possible and promptly release the latest information on testing. His office also said it was trying to ensure the safety of all aircraft and ships in the waters around Japan while being prepared for any contingencies.

In a statement, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch did not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or its allies. But it said the launch underscored the “destabilizing effects” of North Korea’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. He said the U.S. commitment to defending South Korea and Japan remains “irregular.”

The launch was North Korea’s seventh weapons test in two weeks and came hours after the United States and South Korea completed two days of naval exercises off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

The exercise involved the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group, but it came after North Korea fired powerful missiles over Japan last week to protest the carrier group’s previous drills with South Korea. I have returned to this area.

North Korea’s defense ministry on Saturday warned that Reagan’s relocation was causing a “significant negative impact” on regional security. He said it was a “legitimate reaction” to the menacing military drills.

North Korea views U.S.-South Korea military exercises as rehearsals for aggression and is particularly sensitive when such exercises involve U.S. strategic assets such as aircraft carriers. North Korea claims it was forced to pursue a nuclear weapons program to deal with the US nuclear threat. US and South Korean officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking North Korea.

North Korea has launched more than 40 ballistic and cruise missiles at more than 20 different events this year, using the UN Security Council rift deepened by Russia’s war with Ukraine as a window to accelerate its weapons development.

The record number of tests included last week’s launch of a nuclear-capable missile that flew over Japan for the first time in five years. It is estimated to have traveled approximately 4,500 to 4,600 kilometers (2,800 to 2,860 miles), enough distance to reach Guam and beyond in the US Pacific.

South Korean officials say North Korea will create a diplomatic crisis with weapons tests and threats before offering negotiations aimed at extracting concessions by conducting intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear test detonations. Following traditional patterns, it said it could raise stakes soon. There are also concerns about provocations along South Korea’s land-maritime borders.

Associated Press