North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles into the sea from its eastern coast. It happened the day after South Korea and the US completed their first joint military exercise with an American carrier in more than four years.
The missiles were fired on Sunday by North Korea from the Sunan area near the North Korean capital Pyongyang, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the South Korean Army Chiefs of Staff.
This happened the day after the special representative’s visit to Seoul USA North Korea Affairs Sung Kim. He left South Korea on Saturday.
On Friday, the American diplomat met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshi to prepare – as it was defined – for “all contingencies” in the face of signals that North Korea is preparing for the first time since 2017 for a trial nuclear.
Washington’s envoy said the US administration is open to diplomacy. Sung Kim made it clear that he was ready to discuss issues of interest to Pyongyang, such as the relaxation of sanctions.
South Korea and Japan are reacting
President of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol convened a meeting of the National Security Council and ordered “enhanced deterrence of South Korea and the United States and further strengthening of a united defense posture.”
The presidential office later said in a press release that the Council meeting said the launch was “a test and a challenge” to the security preparedness of the new South Korean administration.
Prime Minister Japan Fumio Kishida said at a press conference that North Korea’s actions “cannot be tolerated.”
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, at least one missile had a variable trajectory. This indicates that it can maneuver to avoid missile defense.
More than a dozen North Korean missile tests
Last week, the United States called for tougher sanctions The United Nations against North Korea over the launch of ballistic missiles, but China and Russia vetoed the proposal. This split the UN Security Council over North Korea for the first time since it began applying sanctions in 2006, when North Korea launched its first nuclear test.
In recent weeks, North Korea has tested a number of missile types, including its largest ICBM. The missile launch was the 18th attempt by North Korea in 2022 alone. The last of its kind The Pyongyang regime attempted on 25 May. Three missiles were then fired. After the US president Joe Biden completed his journey through Asia.
The first missile turned out to be the largest northern ICBM Hwasong-17 missile, and when the second, undefined missile appeared to have failed in flight, South Korean officials said at the time. The third missile was a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
Joint military exercises
South Korean and American ships completed a three-day exercise in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa on Saturday, including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-naval operations, the South Korean Army Chiefs of Staff said.
The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, as well as other large warships, participated in the exercises. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10, agreed with Joe Biden to increase the number of bilateral military exercises to deter North Korea.
North Korea has criticized previous joint exercises as an example of Washington’s continued “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / JEON HEON-KYUN