SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired two more ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday as leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister warned the US military to halt military drills, saying the reclusive nuclear state was a “firing range” to the Pacific can turn into ,
The launch came two days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea off Japan’s west coast, prompting the United States to hold joint air drills with South Korea and separate joint air drills with Japan on Sunday. inspired to.
North Korea’s state media confirmed that it fired two projectiles from a multiple rocket launcher, at targets 245 miles and 209 miles away, respectively.
“The crossfire mobilized 600-mm multiple rocket launchers … is a means of tactical nuclear weaponry,” state news agency KCNA said, capable of “paralyzing” enemy airspace.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the two ballistic missiles were fired at about 2200 GMT, traveled a distance of about 350-400 km, reached a maximum altitude of about 100 km and 50 km before falling outside Japan’s EEZ.
There were no reports of damage to aircraft or ships.
In a statement, the ministry said it would continue to collect and analyze information in close cooperation with the United States.
“North Korea’s series of actions, including repeated ballistic missile launches, pose a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region and the international community,” the ministry said. “Japan lodged a strong protest and strongly condemned North Korea.”
tensions are rising
North Korean leader Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, warned against an increased presence of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula after the United States held joint air drills with its Asian allies over the weekend.
“We are carefully examining how this will affect the security of our state,” he said in a statement. “The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends on the action character of the US military.”
Kim Yo Jong also challenged experts’ assessments of her missile capabilities, with some saying it took more than nine hours to “suddenly” launch a missile after an order from leader Kim, and saying South Korea had shot down a reconnaissance aircraft. Didn’t blow it either. Its launch time.
“We have satisfactory technology and capability and now we will focus on increasing the size of their force,” he said. “We reaffirm once again that there has been no change in our will to make the worst of the lunatics who escalated the tension pay for their actions.”
Analysts say tensions are expected to rise further in the region as South Korea and the United States plan a series of expanded field exercises, including live fire drills, in the coming weeks and months.
The two countries are also set to conduct a simulated nuclear drill at the Pentagon on Wednesday, called the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise.
Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, said Monday’s missile launch and statement were consistent with a recent threat from North Korea’s foreign ministry, an “unprecedentedly persistent, strong” response to the allies’ joint military drills. is to give.
Park said, “It seems North Korea is trying to stoke tensions in the region and bolster its nuclear capability by raising the issue over the drills, and Kim Yo Jong’s statement indicates there will be additional provocations.” “
Monday’s missile launch is the North’s third major weapons test this year after it fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including ICBMs capable of striking anywhere in the United States.