North Korea fires several ballistic missiles at sea
North Korea has launched several ballistic missiles at sea off its east coast, according to the South Korean military and the Japanese coast guard.
“North Korea fired one or more unidentified ballistic missiles in the East Sea,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said Sunday morning, referring to the Sea of Japan. The Japanese Coast Guard also said “possible ballistic missiles” had been launched from North Korea, citing the country’s defense ministry.
Hours later, Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing government sources, said North Korea had fired several missiles.
The South Korean military also said the North fired eight short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang.
The multiple launch came shortly after South Korea and the United States concluded a three-day large-scale joint exercise involving the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Pyongyang has frequently protested joint military drills by Seoul and Washington, calling them rehearsals for the invasion.
The latest test marks the 18th time North Korea has fired its missiles this year, including what the US says was a failed intercontinental ballistic missile test on May 4 that detonated shortly after launch .
Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he would “strengthen and develop” his country’s nuclear forces at “the highest possible speed”.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has failed to relaunch diplomatic talks with Pyongyang as tensions escalate.
Former US President Donald Trump tried to woo Pyongyang. But even though he met with the North Korean leader three times, he refused to lift any of the sanctions in exchange for Pyongyang’s several steps towards denuclearization. It hampered further diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington and prompted Kim to announce the end of a moratorium on the country’s missile testing.
North Korea, which has faced a series of crushing UN sanctions since 2006 for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, has accelerated missile launches this year, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at full range for the first time since 2017. .
China and Russia have expressed their opposition to new UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea.
Late last year, the two countries pushed the council to lift some sanctions against the North in recognition of the steps Pyongyang had taken so far to denuclearize and encourage further negotiations.