North Korea has fired two missiles after the end of joint exercises between the US, South Korea and Japan.


SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea test-fired two ballistic missiles on Monday, but one of them likely flew erratically, South Korea's military said, a day after North Korea along with South Korea and Japan said the U.S. reacted “aggressively and forcefully” in response to the military exercises. .

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missiles were fired 10 minutes northeast of the southeastern North Korean city of Jungwon.

It said the first missile flew 370 miles and the second 75 miles, but did not say where they landed. North Korea usually tests missiles toward its eastern waters, but the flight distance of the second missile was too short to reach those waters.

Lee Sung-jun, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, later told a briefing that the second missile suffered a possible flight anomaly during the initial phase of its flight. He said that if the missile had exploded, its debris would probably have scattered on the ground, but no immediate damage was reported. Additional analysis of the second missile launch is underway, Lee said.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned North Korea's launches as a provocation that poses a serious threat to the peace of the Korean Peninsula. It said that South Korea is firmly prepared to repulse any provocation by North Korea together with the United States.

The launches came two days after South Korea, the US and Japan concluded their new multi-domain trilateral exercises in the region. In recent years, the three countries have been expanding their trilateral security partnership to better address North Korea's emerging nuclear threats and China's growing aggression in the region.

The “Freedom Edge” drill was intended to enhance the sophistication of previous exercises with simultaneous air and naval exercises to improve joint ballistic missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and other skills and capabilities. The three-day exercise involved US aircraft carriers as well as destroyers, fighter jets and helicopters from the three countries.

On Sunday, North Korea's foreign ministry issued a lengthy statement strongly condemning the “Freedom Edge” exercise, calling the US-South Korea-Japan partnership an Asian version of NATO. It said the exercise had openly undermined the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and was intended by the US to encircle China and pressure Russia.

The statement said that North Korea will firmly defend the sovereignty, security and interests of the state and peace in the region through aggressive and forceful countermeasures.

Monday's launches were the first by the North in five days. On Wednesday, North Korea defeated US and South Korean missile defenses in the first known test of an advanced, sophisticated weapon it called a multi-warhead missile. North Korea said the launch was a success, but South Korea dismissed North Korea's claim as a hoax to cover up the failed launch.

In recent weeks, North Korea has sent a number of trash-carrying balloons to South Korea in what it described as a tit-for-tat response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets via their balloons. What is it. Last month, North Korea and Russia also signed an agreement pledging mutual defense assistance in the event of an attack on either, a major defense deal that has raised concerns that This could encourage North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to launch further provocations in South Korea.

Meanwhile, North Korea opened a key meeting of the ruling party on Friday to determine what it called “important, urgent issues” related to the task of furthering Korean-style socialism. Observers said that the meeting continued on Monday.

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