South Korea says North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles

Seoul, Korea

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Friday, raising tensions in the region, according to South Korean military officials.

According to a statement, the missiles were launched from Dongcheon County in North Korea’s eastern Gangwon Province between 11:59 a.m. and 12:18 p.m. local time and flew about 230 kilometers (143 miles) to an altitude of about 24 kilometers (15 miles). ). in the Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The JCS said the test was a “serious act of provocation” that threatened peace and stability on the peninsula and a “clear violation” of a UN Security Council resolution banning North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, adding that it was cooperating with UN countries to monitor North Korea’s movements.

The U.S. military said it was aware of the North Korean launch and “does not pose a direct threat to U.S. personnel or territory or our allies,” according to a statement from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Friday’s launch, North Korea’s 28th of the year, comes as South Korea wraps up its Hoguk military exercise — a joint amphibious effort between South Korea’s navy, marines and air force, according to CNN. action.

Earlier this month, North Korean state media broke its six-month silence on a spate of missile tests this year, saying the tests were designed to demonstrate Pyongyang’s readiness to fire tactical nuclear warheads on potential targets in the south.

The sharp acceleration in weapons testing has sparked panic in the region, with the United States, South Korea and Japan responding with missile launches and joint military exercises.

Next week, South Korea will conduct large-scale joint air force training with the United States, including its F-35B stealth fighter, according to the South Korean Air Force.

Experts have previously told CNN that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may deliberately display the country’s arsenal to send a message amid heightened global conflict.

South Korean and U.S. officials have warned since May that North Korea may be preparing for a seventh nuclear test — the first since 2017 — with satellite images showing activity at its underground nuclear test site.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog told reporters on Thursday that “everyone was holding their breath” about a possible North Korean nuclear test that could provide further “confirmation of a program that is going full steam ahead in incredible fashion.” “about. ”

“We’re watching this very, very closely. We hope this won’t happen, but unfortunately the signs are going in the other direction,” said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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