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North Korea fires volley of missiles after U.S.-South Korea staging drills

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North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles seaward off its east coast on Sunday, a day after South Korea and the United States completed their first combined military exercises involving a US aircraft carrier in more than four years.

The missiles were fired from the Sunan area of ​​Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing a government source, also said the North had launched several missiles.

The launch also follows a visit to Seoul by US Representative for North Korean Affairs, US Special Representative Sung Kim, who left on Saturday.

He met his South Korean and Japanese counterparts Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshi on Friday to prepare for “all eventualities” amid signs that North Korea was preparing to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.

Washington has made it very clear to Pyongyang that it is open to diplomacy, Kim said during the visit, which ended on Sunday, noting that he was willing to discuss issues of interest to Pyongyang, such as relief. Sanctions.

This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says about a test launch of a hypersonic missile in North Korea on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
(North Korean government via AP)

The United States last week called for more UN sanctions against North Korea over its ballistic missile launches, but China and Russia vetoed the suggestion, publicly dividing the Security Council. on North Korea for the first time since it began punishing it in 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.


In recent weeks, North Korea has tested a range of missiles, including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea fires volley of missiles after U.S.-South Korea staging drills

A North Korean flag flies next to an accordion wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 9, 2017.
(REUTERS/Edgar Su)

North Korea’s latest test came on May 25, when it launched three missiles after US President Joe Biden ended a trip to Asia where he agreed to new measures to deter the nuclear-armed state. of nuclear weapons.

The first missile appeared to be the North’s largest ICBM, the Hwasong-17, while an unspecified second missile appeared to have failed in midair, South Korean officials said at the time. The third missile was a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).


North Korea fires volley of missiles after U.S.-South Korea staging drills

In this undated file photo provided by the North Korean government on April 12, 2020, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an air defense unit in North Korea’s western area.
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

On Saturday, South Korean and American ships concluded three days of exercises in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa, including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine and defense operations. maritime interdiction, South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The exercises included the USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000 ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, among other large warships.


South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10, had agreed with Biden to increase bilateral military exercises to deter North Korea.

North Korea has criticized previous joint drills as an example of Washington’s continued “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang, despite its diplomatic remarks.


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