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

The missile launch comes four days after North and South Korea fired warning shots off the west coast.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles from its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and state media said.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missiles were found in the Tongchon area of ​​Kangwon Province,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

The South Korean military maintains full readiness for close cooperation with the United States, the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters, Yonhap reported.

The Tongchon launch site is located 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the border between the two Koreas. The area appears to be closer to South Korean territory than other launch sites North Korea has used this year.

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The missiles, which were launched on Friday (01:59 GMT and 02:18 GMT and 11:59 AM and 12:18 GMT), flew an estimated 230 kilometers (140 miles) at a maximum altitude of about 24 kilometers (15 miles). A top speed of Mach 5; JCS said.

“North Korea’s ballistic missile launch this time is a significant provocation that affects not only the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, but also the international community,” Yonhap said in a statement.

Friday’s missile launch was the final day of South Korea’s annual 12-day “Hoguk” military exercise, which this year has also included an undisclosed number of U.S. troops.

Next week, South Korean and U.S. forces are also preparing to conduct a joint air exercise dubbed “Vigilant Storm,” Yonhap reported.

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Such drills have angered Pyongyang, which it sees as a rehearsal for an invasion and justifies its missile launches as necessary “countermeasures”.

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

Leader Kim Jong Un is prioritizing the development of small, battlefield-ready weapons, and Seoul recently warned that North Korea may be preparing for a series of nuclear tests as part of that drive.

On Tuesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said North Korea was ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test.

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“Preparations for the seventh nuclear test appear to be complete,” he said in his budget speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

If North Korea tests a nuclear weapon, the United States will guarantee an unparalleled response. South Korea and Japan issued warnings on Wednesday.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a brief statement that North Korea’s missile launch was illegal and that the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea and Japan was too strong.


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