SEOUL, March 27 (AP) – North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, intensifying a series of recent weapons as the United States prepares to deploy an aircraft carrier strike group to adjacent waters to bolster its forces. Experiment with military exercises in the South.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles flew across the country after being launched from the western interior south of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, but did not immediately release specific details of the flight. The Japan Coast Guard said it believed both weapons landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
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The launch, North Korea’s seventh missile launch this month, underscores rising military tensions in the region as the pace of North Korean weapons tests and joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises in recent months has accelerated in a cycle of tit-for-tat responses.
Allied forces completed an 11-day exercise last week that included their largest field training in years. But North Korea is expected to step up its testing activities further, as the United States this week moved an aircraft carrier group to the peninsula for another round of joint exercises.
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North Korea has launched more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles in 11 launches this year in an attempt to force the United States to accept its nuclear status and negotiate the lifting of sanctions on the United States.
North Korea’s launches this month included flight tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile and a range of short-range weapons aimed at overpowering South Korea’s missile defense system as it seeks to demonstrate its ability to deliver nuclear strikes against South Korea and the continental United States.
North Korea conducted what it called a three-day drill last week that simulated a nuclear attack on South Korean targets, as leader Kim Jong Un denounced the joint U.S.-South Korea military drills as invasion exercises. Allies say the exercises are defensive in nature.
North Korea’s tests also included a supposedly nuclear-capable underwater drone, which it said was capable of unleashing a massive “radioactive tsunami” that could destroy naval ships and ports. Analysts were skeptical about North Korea’s claims about the drone or whether the device posed a significant new threat, but the tests underscored North Korea’s commitment to expanding its nuclear threat.
Following North Korea’s drone test announcement on Friday, South Korea’s air force last week released details of a five-day joint air exercise with the United States that included live-firing demonstrations of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The exercise was designed to validate precision strike capabilities and reaffirm the credibility of Seoul’s “three-axis” strategy against North Korea’s nuclear threat — preemptively striking the source of an attack, intercepting incoming missiles and neutralizing North Korea’s leadership and key military installations.
North Korea has wrapped up a record year of weapons testing, launching more than 70 missiles in 2022, while it also codified its upgraded nuclear doctrine into law, authorizing pre-emptive nuclear strikes in a variety of situations it might consider its leadership. A blow is threatened. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)