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North Korea fired two missiles after South Korea-US drills

The launch comes after Pyongyang warned rivals of an ‘inevitable’ response to the military drills.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles from its east coast, South Korea’s military said. The launch came less than an hour after Pyongyang warned of an “inevitable” response to military exercises conducted by South Korean and US troops.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they detected launches from North Korea’s capital region on Thursday.

Japan’s defense ministry said two ballistic missiles landed within the country’s exclusive economic zone, possibly flying an erratic trajectory. One landed in the Sea of ​​Japan, also known as the East Sea, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of Hegura Island, part of Ishikawa Prefecture, and the other about 250 kilometers (155 miles) away, Japanese authorities said.

US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was in Tokyo for meetings with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Cho Tae-yong and Tao Akiba.

The three discussed North Korea’s missile program and confirmed they would work together to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons, according to a readout of the meeting released by Japan.

US-South Korea joint military exercises

Earlier Thursday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol watched as tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops took part in live-fire exercises in the latest show of force that allies say is necessary to deter North Korea.

North Korea
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, center, visits the Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, South Korea, during a South Korea-US joint military exercise on June 15, 2023. [Jung Yeon-je/Reuters]

A spokesman for North Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the drills were raising military tensions in the region and that its forces would respond strongly to “any kind of protest or provocation by the enemy”.

Pyongyang unsuccessfully attempted to launch a spy satellite late last month in its first satellite launch attempt since 2016. The rocket booster and payload are submerged in the ocean.

North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs are banned by UN Security Council resolutions that sanctioned the country.

Diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions or persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal have stalled.

North Korea
An explosion destroys a communications office built by South Korea in the North Korean border city of Kaesong on June 16, 2020, in this photo provided by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. [KCNA via Reuters]

South Korea on Wednesday sued North Korea for $35 million in damages over a liaison office that North Korea had highlighted as a 2020 breakdown of relations between the neighbors.

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