North Korea fires two ballistic missiles, slams US carrier deployment

The first missile flew about 350 kilometres (217 miles) at a maximum altitude of around 100 kilometres, while the second missile had a flight range of about 800 kilometres at an altitude of around 50 kilometres, according to Japanese defence minister Yasukazu Hamada

Agence France-Presse October 06, 2022 08:15:05 IST
North Korea fires two ballistic missiles, slams US carrier deployment

A TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch with file footage, is seen at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday. (AP)

Seoul: North Korea fired two ballistic missiles Thursday as it justified its recent blitz of sanctions-busting tests as necessary countermeasures against joint military drills by the United States and South Korea.

As the United Nations Security Council met to discuss Pyongyang’s Tuesday launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, North Korea blamed Washington for “escalating the military tensions on the Korean peninsula”.

The recent launches — six in less than two weeks, including likely its longest-ever test by distance — were “the just counteraction measures of the Korean People’s Army on South Korea-US joint drills,” Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said.

Early on Thursday, South Korea’s military said it had detected two short-range ballistic missiles launched from the Samsok area in Pyongyang towards the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

“Our military has reinforced monitoring and surveillance and is maintaining utmost readiness in coordination with the United States,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

Japan’s coastguard also confirmed the launch of two potential ballistic missiles, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida telling reporters that the recent testing spate was “unacceptable”.

The first missile flew about 350 kilometres (217 miles) at a maximum altitude of around 100 kilometres, while the second missile had a flight range of about 800 kilometres at an altitude of around 50 kilometres, according to Japanese defence minister Yasukazu Hamada.

“Regardless of its aim, North Korea’s repeated launches of ballistic missiles cannot be tolerated,” Hamada told reporters

“We cannot overlook the significant improvement of its missile technology.”

China slams US:

Pyongyang’s Tuesday firing of what officials and analysts said was a Hwasong-12 that travelled likely the longest horizontal distance of any North Korean test, prompted the United States to call for the emergency Security Council meeting.

At the meeting, North Korea’s longtime ally and economic benefactor Beijing also blamed Washington for provoking the spate of launches by Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Deputy Chinese ambassador to the UN Geng Shuang said North Korea’s recent launches were “closely related” to military exercises in the region conducted by the United States and its allies.

Geng accused the US of “poisoning the regional security environment”.

Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have ramped up joint military drills in recent weeks, including large-scale naval manoeuvers and anti-submarine exercises.

The United States said Wednesday it would redeploy the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan to the Korean Peninsula for a second visit in less than a month.

North Korea’s foreign ministry accused the US of “posing a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula” with the deployment of the aircraft carrier.

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