North Korea continues its series of weapons tests with the launch of ballistic missiles | North Korea

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile, the Seoul military said, in the fourth such weapons test in a week, which comes as South Korea and the United States hold important military exercises.

“Our military detected a short-range ballistic missile fired from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan Province at 11:05 a.m. towards the East Sea,” the joint chiefs of staff of the army said on Sunday. South Korea, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of ​​Japan.

“Our military maintains a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States,” he added.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense also tweeted: “A possible ballistic missile has been launched from North Korea”.

The Japanese Coast Guard warned the ships against “what appears to be a ballistic missile launched from North Korea” while noting that it appeared “to have already fallen”.

Seoul and Washington have stepped up defense cooperation in the face of growing military and nuclear threats from the North, which has conducted a series of increasingly provocative tests of banned weapons in recent months.

South Korea and the United States are currently in the midst of 11-day joint exercises known as Freedom Shield, the largest in five years.

North Korea views all of these drills as invasion rehearsals and has repeatedly warned it will take “crushing” action in response.

On Thursday, Pyongyang tested its largest and most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile, a Hwasong-17, its second ICBM test this year.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) described the ICBM launch as a response to ongoing “frenzied” drills between the United States and South Korea.

Analysts previously said North Korea would likely use the drills as an excuse to conduct more missile launches and possibly even a nuclear test.

On Saturday, KCNA said the joint allied drills were “closer to the unforgivable red line.”

The ICBM launch followed two short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday, after two strategic cruise missiles were launched from a submarine last Sunday.

Pyongyang’s recent wave of aggression has prompted Seoul and Tokyo to repair barriers over historic differences and try to boost security cooperation.

Just hours after the ICBM was sacked on Thursday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol arrived in Japan for the first large-scale leaders’ summit between the parties in 12 years.

Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power and leader Kim Jong-un recently called for an “exponential” increase in the production of weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, Kim also ordered the North Korean military to step up exercises to prepare for a “real war”.

theguardian Gt

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