THE North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards its east coast on Thursday, in the direction of Japanafter joint South Korean and US missile exercises and the return of an aircraft carrier from the USA to the region in response to recent North Korean missile tests.
The missile launch was the sixth in 12 days and the first since North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile (IRBM) over Japan on Tuesday.
The launch was reported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea (JCS) and the Japanese government.
“This is the sixth time in the short period counting only the ones from the end of September,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters. “This absolutely cannot be tolerated.”
The launch came about an hour after North Korea condemned the United States for talking to the Security Council of UN on the “just measures of opposition by the Korean People’s Army due to the joint exercises between South Korea and the US”.
In a statement released by the country’s Foreign Ministry, North Korea also condemned Washington for repositioning a US aircraft carrier in waters off the Korean peninsula, saying the move poses a serious threat to the stability of the situation.
The USS Ronald Reagan and its accompanying strike group of warships were abruptly deployed after South Korea and the US military conducted rare missile exercises east of North Korea.
This comes in response to North Korea’s launch of the IRBM over Japan this week, one of the Allies’ sharpest reactions to a North Korean weapons test since 2017.
Tokyo has launched a “vehement protest” against North Korea through delegations in Beijing, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said.
“North Korea has intensified its provocation relentlessly and unilaterally, especially since the beginning of this year,” Hamada told reporters.
South Korea’s JCS said the missiles were launched near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
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