North Korea fires multiple ballistic missiles, Seoul says

World Sunday 05/June/2022 18:22 PM
By: DW
North Korea fires multiple ballistic missiles, Seoul says

North Korea shot off multiple suspected ballistic missiles off its east coast on Sunday, the South Korean military said.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the launch of missiles by Pyongyang "cannot be tolerated."

What do we know so far?

At least eight short-range ballistic missiles were fired toward the sea over a 35-minute period, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The weapons were fired from the Sunan area near the capital city of Pyongyang.

"North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile(s) into the East Sea," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff had said earlier in the day, referring to the Sea of Japan. This comes a day after a top United States envoy left Seoul.

US Special Representative Sung Kim on Friday met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts – Kim Gunn and Funakoshi Takehiro – in Seoul to prepare for "all contingencies" as North Korea extended a provocative streak of weapons demonstrations this year.

This was North Korea's 18th round of missile launches this year alone, leading to more speculation about the country’s push to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.

Last month, Pyongyang test-fired at least three missiles, including possibly its largest intercontinental ballistic missile: Hwasong-17.

Latest launches follow joint US-South Korean military exercises

The move follows joint US and South Korean naval maneuvers including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine, and maritime interdiction operations. USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was among the major warships that took part.

This also comes days after US President Joe Biden left South Korea after meeting newly elected President Yoon Seok-youl. They had agreed to increase bilateral military drills to deter North Korea’s nuclear expansionism.