North Korea fired two more ballistic missiles on Wednesday, a day before Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit South Korea.
Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement that Pyongyang’s short-range missiles lifted off 10 minutes apart from the capital region and flew toward the waters off North Korea’s east coast.
The twin launches come after a missile test by North Korea on Sunday.
Japanese Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said Japan’s military detected the missiles on Wednesday afternoon and that the weapons flew in an irregular trajectory.
Ino said that “North Korea’s repeated missile firings amid [Russia’s] invasion of Ukraine is impermissible.”
South Korea and Japan estimated that the North Korean missiles flew 185 to 220 miles with a maximum altitude of 19 to 30 miles.
The low trajectories resembled the flight of the missile fired on Sunday, which some analysts said was likely a nuclear-capable, highly maneuverable weapon modeled after Russia’s Iskander missile.
The South Korean joint chiefs of staff said North Korea’s provocations would only deepen its international isolation while pushing South Korea and the US to strengthen their deterrence.
Harris is set arrive in South Korea on Thursday for talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol and other officials. She also will visit the tense border with North Korea, in what US officials call an attempt to underscore the strength of the US-South Korean alliance and the Biden administration’s commitment to “stand beside” Seoul in the face of any North Korea threats.
Not to be outdone by Kim Jong Un’s regime, US and South Korean naval ships were conducting drills off South Korea’s east coast in a show of force against North Korea.
The four-day exercise, which began Monday, involves the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. It is the first training exercise by the allies involving a US aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula since 2017.
The short-range North Korean missile fired Sunday was seen as a response to the drills.
North Korea has dialed up its missile testing activities to a record pace in 2022, launching more than 30 ballistic weapons, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.
Earlier this month, North Korea adopted a new law authorizing the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in some situations, as it continues to escalate its nuclear doctrine.
Earlier Wednesday, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers that a North Korean nuclear test could happen between mid-October and early November.
With Post wires