• Japanese media reports 2 missiles fell outside country’s EEZ.
  • “Military strengthened surveillance, vigilance”: South Korea.
  • “Drill aimed to send clear message to enemies”: North Korea.


 

 

South Korean military said Wednesday that Kim Jong-un’s North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea sometime after the United States deployed B-1B bombers for allied military exercises, as the regional tensions rise with Washington assisting friends to prepare to face any possible aggression.

According to Japanese media reports, two missiles landed outside Tokyo’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with the defence ministry of the country mentioning only one.

North Korea confirmed the firing of two short-range ballistic missiles as part of a “tactical nuclear strike drill,” according to Korean Central News Agency.

KCNA reported Thursday that Pyongyang fired these missiles late Wednesday in a “tactical nuclear strike drill simulating scorched earth strikes at major command centres and operational airfields” across the border in South Korea.

“The missile unit fired two tactical ballistic missiles northeastward at Pyongyang International Airport and correctly carried out its nuclear strike mission through air bursts at a preset altitude of 400 meters above the target island,” the media report quoted military’s statement.

“The drill is aimed to send a clear message to the enemies,” the nuclear-armed country’s military said in a statement.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in preparation for additional provocations, and is maintaining full readiness through close cooperation between Korea and the United States.”

The missile launches were carried out just a day after South Korea and the US concluded their 11 days of military exercises which had been criticised by North Korea.

Separately, there were B-1B bomber drills by Japanese and South Korean warplanes on Wednesday.

United Nations Security Council resolutions have prohibited North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and have imposed strict sanctions on the Kim Jong-un-led country.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told the media Wednesday: “The US is concerned that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are actively advancing and that any arms deal would violate sanctions.”

Kirby added that Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had recently travelled to North Korea to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.

The US and South Korean militaries want to more closely integrate their systems for tracking North Korean missile launches, an effort that may soon include more cooperation with Japan as well, US Space Force officials said Wednesday.

US President Joe Biden agreed with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at an August 18 summit that by the end of this year, the three countries would share North Korea missile warning data in real-time.

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