After the US and South Korean forces completed a joint military exercise, Pyongyang fired eight missiles.
North Korea launched 8 short-range, ballistic missiles. These are likely the largest strategic firepower tests and signal a rising tension with Seoul and Tokyo in the midst of increased US saber-rattling.
The missiles were fired toward the sea from at least four different locations across North Korea, including the country’s eastern and western coasts, over a period of about 35 minutes on Sunday, according to a statement by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. These missiles could fly at speeds of between 110km- 670km, and were at an altitude as high as 80km.
Nobuo Kishi, Japanese Defense Minister, said that at least one projectile flew in an unpredictable trajectory. This suggests it might have been maneuvered to avoid defensive weapons. Kishi confirmed that none of the missiles made it into Japanese waters. “cannot be tolerated.”
The launches were condemned by the US, South Korean and Japanese envoys. Japan and the US responded by holding a joint missile exercise hours later to demonstrate their mutual respect for UN Security Council resolutions. “rapid response capability,”The Japanese Defense Ministry.
Pyongyang’s latest launches marked its 18th missile test this year and came one day after the US and South Korean navies completed a joint drill in international waters off the coast of Okinawa. The exercise included the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan, Seoul’s first drill involving a US aircraft carrier since 2017. Yoon Suk-yeol has been elected South Korean President and will work with Joe Biden in increasing joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul to convey a strong message of deterrence to North Korea.
North Korea condemns such joint drills, calling them provocative preparations for an invasion. The deputy director of the ruling party’s Publicity and Information Department, Kim Yo-jong, warned last year that Pyongyang would have to strengthen its own forces, including its nuclear arsenal, in response to the exercises. North Korea demonstrated its capabilities to strike US targets by firing an intercontinental ballistic weapon (ICBM) last March.
During Biden’s visit to Seoul last month, the US president vowed to send “strategic assets”If necessary, the USS Abraham Lincoln flew to the Korean Peninsula to prevent a North Korean invasion. Another US aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, conducted exercises in the Yellow Sea after North Korea’s ICBM launch in March.
Washington and Seoul are concerned that North Korea plans to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017. Biden’s administration has threatened to seek additional international sanctions against North Korea if such a test is conducted, but Russia and China could veto any punitive response by the UN Security Council. Pyongyang’s May 25 ICBM attack was an alleged reason why the UN Security Council refused to punish it.
Seven decades on from a bloody war that left nearly 5 million people dead, the two Koreas still haven’t signed a peace treaty. The armistice that ended major combat operations in Korea and Japan in July 1953 means the two nations are technically still at conflict.