July 14, 2024

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North Korea launched two ballistic missiles

North Korea launched two ballistic missiles

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday, one of which failed, the South Korean military said, a day after Pyongyang warned against “dire consequences” from joint maneuvers by Seoul and its allies.

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The first short-range missile was launched at 5:05 a.m. local time (8:05 p.m. GMT), followed by a second ten minutes later, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

“The [premier] The short-range ballistic missile traveled approximately 600 kilometers,” the report said, while the second traveled 120 kilometers.

“One of the failed missiles may have flown abnormally, and it cannot be ruled out that it hit the ground,” South Korea’s defense ministry said in a statement.

According to General Staff spokesman Lee Chung-jun, debris could have landed in North Korea if the missile had exploded mid-flight, based on the observed trajectory.

“Our military has strengthened surveillance in anticipation of other missiles,” the same source said, noting that information about the incidents had been sent to the US and Japan.

North Korea has been accused of supplying weapons to Russia for use in its war on Ukraine, in defiance of several United Nations resolutions.

Seoul is concerned about a rapprochement between Moscow and Pyongyang. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea in June to meet with leader Kim Jong Un and the two countries signed a mutual defense agreement.

A spokesman for the General Staff declined to comment when asked if the latest missile could be a test of missiles aimed at Russia.

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The missiles came days after North Korea said it had successfully tested a multiple-warhead missile, while South Korea, for its part, claimed the missile had exploded in flight.

On Sunday, Pyongyang condemned joint military maneuvers by South Korea, Japan and the United States, calling the alliance an “Asian version of NATO” and warning of “dire consequences.”

Dubbed “Freedom Edge”, the three-day military exercise was held last week from Thursday to Sunday. They focused on air defense, anti-submarine warfare and cyber defense and were ready for ballistic missile launches.

US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Japanese guided-missile destroyer JS Atago and South Korea’s KF-16 fighter jet were deployed for the exercises.

“Don’t look weak”

Pyongyang formally criticizes these types of military maneuvers, which it sees as preparations for an invasion of its territory.

Seoul rejected Pyongyang’s accusations on Sunday, insisting that the latest drills were carried out as part of regularly organized joint exercises between the three allies.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has opened a major ruling party meeting.

“In both North Korea’s policy and military policy, the best defense is often a good offense,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“These missile launches may be a way for Mr. Kim’s regime to make up for recent failed tests and woo people at ruling party meetings,” he said, adding: “Pyongyang is also determined not to appear weak as South Korea conducts military exercises with Japan and the United States.

Relations between the two Koreas are at an all-time low as Pyongyang ramps up its weapons tests in retaliation for South Korea’s campaigns against the North Korean regime.

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“Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in preparation for a new launch,” the same source said, noting that information about the incidents had been sent to the US and Japan.

The missiles came days after North Korea said it had successfully tested a multiple-warhead missile, while South Korea, for its part, claimed the missile had exploded in flight.

Relations between the two Koreas are now at their lowest level in years, with Pyongyang intensifying its weapons testing while sending junk-filled balloons to the South in retaliation for South Korea’s propaganda campaigns against the North Korean regime.

In late June, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington held three days of joint military exercises, which Pyongyang on Sunday described as the “Asian version of NATO”, warning of “dangerous consequences”.

North Korea formally criticizes these types of military maneuvers, which it views as a rehearsal before an invasion of its territory.

South Korea, for its part, confirmed on Sunday that these were only routine self-defense exercises.