N Korea fires two ballistic missiles off east coast, S Korea says | News

The missiles were launched four days after North Korea and South Korea exchanged warning shots on their west coast.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and national media reported that North Korea had fired two short-range ballistic missiles from its east coast.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it had detected the launches from the Tongchon region of Gangwon Province,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Friday.

According to Yonhap, the JCS said in a text message to reporters that South Korea’s military is “maintaining a position of full readiness in close cooperation with the United States”.

The Tongchon launch site is located approximately 60 km (37 mi) from the inter-Korean border. The area was apparently closer to the South Korean mainland than any other launch site North Korea has used so far this year.

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The missiles, which were launched on Friday at 11:59am and 12:18pm local time (01:59 GMT and 02:18 GMT) had an estimated range of 230 kilometers (140 miles) with a maximum range of 24 kilometers (15 miles ) flew at a height of Mach 5’s top speed, JCS said.

“The North’s ballistic missile test this time is an act of major provocation that undermines peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community,” the leaders said in a statement, according to Yonhap.

Friday’s launch also marks the final day of South Korea’s annual 12-day “Hogk” military drills, which this year included an unspecified number of U.S. troops.

Next week, the forces of South Korea and the United States are also preparing to conduct major joint air exercises, dubbed “Vigilance Storm,” Yonhap reported.

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Such military drills infuriate Pyongyang, which views them as an attack drill and justifies its missile launches as necessary “retaliatory measures”.

Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang could be close to testing a nuclear bomb for the first time since 2017, following ballistic missile launches.

Leader Kim Jong-un has prioritized developing tactical nukes — small, battlefield-ready weapons — and Seoul recently warned that North Korea could prepare to conduct a series of nuclear tests as part of that campaign. Is.

On Tuesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yol said North Korea is ready to conduct another nuclear test, which would be its seventh.

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“It looks like they have completed preparations for the seventh nuclear test,” he said during his budget speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the US, South Korea and Japan warned of an “unprecedented” response if North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a brief statement that the North’s missile launch was “illegal” and that the US’s commitment to defend South Korea and Japan was “ironclad”.


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