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  |   Politics


North Korea fires eight missiles following joint military drills by US, South Korea

US Department of State / Wikimedia Commons

North Korea continues moving forward with its weapons tests, having conducted multiple tests so far this year regardless of UN sanctions. Over the weekend, Pyongyang carried out its single-largest weapons test, firing eight ballistic missiles.

Reuters reports North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast Sunday. The test comes a day after South Korea and the US ended their annual joint military exercises. The test also led Japan and the US to respond by holding joint military drills in the region.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported at least eight missiles were fired from the Sunan area of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, flying between 110 to 600 kilometers at altitudes between 25 kilometers and 90 kilometers.

Japan’s Self-Defense force issued a statement that Japan and the US conducted a joint military exercise. South Korea also held an emergency National Security Council meeting, where President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered “expanded deterrence of South Korea and the United States and the continued reinforcement of united defense posture.”

The NSC meeting came to a conclusion that the recent missile test was North Korea’s “test and challenge” on South Korea’s readiness under the new administration, according to Yoon’s office.

Japanese defense minister Nobuo Kishi said North Korea launched multiple missiles Sunday and that the actions must not be tolerated. During a briefing, Kishi said that at least one of the missiles had a variable trajectory, which means it could move to avoid missile defenses.

The US-Indo-Pacific Command also issued a statement, saying North Korea’s repeated missile tests noted the destabilizing impact of its arsenal but that the launch did not pose a threat.

In another response to North Korea’s missile tests, the US and South Korea carried out a live-fire exercise using one US missile and seven South Korean missiles that were launched into the Sea of Japan, according to the US military in a statement.

Previously, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent his well-wishes to the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, according to the North Korean foreign ministry. Friday last week marked the last day of the week-long celebrations marking the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

“I extend my congratulations to you and your people on the occasion of the National Day of your country, the official birthday of Your Majesty,” said Kim in a message dated June 2.

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