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North Korea launches 2 missiles toward sea after U.S.-South Korea drills


North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern seaboard on Sunday, the latest explosion in a recent weapons test, a day after it warned of redeployment. US aircraft carriers near the Korean Peninsula are raising tensions in the region.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected two missile launches between 1:48 a.m. and 1:58 a.m. Sunday from the coastal city of Munchon, in eastern North Korea. It added that the South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance posture and maintained its readiness to closely coordinate with the United States.

Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino also confirmed the launches, saying Pyongyang’s test activities were “completely unacceptable” as they threaten regional and international peace and security.

Ino said the weapon could be a submarine-launched ballistic missile. “We are continuing to analyze the details of the missiles, including the possibility of them being launched from the sea,” Ino said.

North Korea’s pursuit of the ability to fire missiles from submarines would represent an alarming development for adversaries because such launches are difficult to detect in advance. North Korea is believed to have last tested a missile launch from a submarine in May.

The South Korean and Japanese militaries estimated the missile flew about 350 km and reached a maximum altitude of 90 to 100 km before falling into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

7th round of testing in 2 weeks

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has specifically instructed officials to collect and analyze all the information they can and to make any updates on the tests available to the public. His office said it was also looking into ways to ensure the safety of all aircraft and ships in the waters around Japan while preparing for any eventualities.

South Korea’s presidential office said National Security Director Kim Sung-han convened an emergency security meeting about the launch, where members reviewed South Korea’s defense preparation capabilities and discussed on ways to strengthen cooperation with the United States and Japan to counter North Korea’s growing threats.

Seoul warned that Pyongyang’s repeated provocations would deepen international isolation and increase “regime instability” by worsening the economy and people’s livelihoods.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the launches did not pose any immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to its allies. surname. But they said the launches highlighted the “destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. It said US commitments to the defense of South Korea and Japan remained “not OK”.

VIEW | North Korea’s missile test in Japan sends people to shelter:

North Korea test-fires missile over Japan

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile over Japan, believed to be the farthest it has ever launched. It prompted people to take shelter and raised concerns about an escalation of aggression in the region.

The launch, North Korea’s seventh weapons test in two weeks, came hours after the United States and South Korea concluded 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 strike group, which returned to the area after North Korea fired a powerful missile at Japan last week to attack Japan. protested against the combat group’s previous exercise with South Korea.

North Korea’s high-level military drills

On Saturday, North Korea’s Defense Ministry warned that Reagan’s redeployment was causing “a significant negative flow” in regional security. The ministry called the recent missile tests a “legitimate response” to fearsome military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

North Korea views the US-South Korean military drills as an invasion maneuver and is particularly sensitive if such drills involve strategic US assets such as aircraft carriers. North Korea believes it is forced to pursue a nuclear weapons program in response to US nuclear threats. US and South Korean officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking North Korea.

North Korea has launched more than 40 cruise and ballistic missiles in more than 20 different events this year, tapping a section in the United Nations Security Council that dug into Russia’s Ukraine war as an opportunity. to speed up weapon development.

The record number of tests includes the launch of a nuclear-capable missile last week, the first in five years that flew over Japan. It is estimated to have traveled between 4,500 and 4,600 km, a distance sufficient to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam and beyond.

South Korean officials say Pyongyang could soon ramp up its response by launching an intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear test explosion, following the traditional pattern of creating diplomatic crises. with weapons tests and threats before launching negotiations to draw concessions. There are also concerns about provocative actions along North Korea’s land and sea borders.

Nuclear-capable missile tested

Sunday’s launch took place on the 77th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party in North Korea.

Earlier this year, North Korea tested other nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that put the United States, South Korea and Japan within long ranges.

North Korea’s test shows that leader Kim Jong-un has no intention of resuming diplomacy with the US and wants to focus on expanding his arsenal. But some experts say Kim will ultimately aim to use his advanced nuclear program to win bigger concessions from outside, such as recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state. legitimacy, which Kim deems necessary in lifting UN sanctions.

South Korean officials recently said North Korea is also preparing to test a new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile while maintaining readiness for a nuclear test. first underground since 2017.

Canadian Cabinet Minister visits DMZ

Hours after the missile launch, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly called for peace on the Korean peninsula during Sunday’s visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.

“For over 70 years, Canada has been engaged and deeply committed to ensuring that this part of the world is peaceful and stable,” she said. “We are fully committed to making sure that this happens for many years,” she said. next year”.

Joly urged Pyongyang to return to dialogue and commit to denuclearization.

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