North Korea launched 2 missiles into the sea while its allies were conducting exercises


Seoul, South Korea — North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday in another show of force after the US and South Korea began military exercises on Tuesday, which Pyongyang says is a rehearsal for a takeover, its neighbors said.

The missiles were launched from the southwestern coastal city of Jangyeong and flew over North Korea before landing in the sea off the country’s east coast, the chiefs of staff said. South Korean joint forces in a statement. He also said that the South Korean military, in close coordination with the United States, has strengthened its surveillance position and maintained its readiness.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that officials were still gathering information about the North Korean launches and that there were no reports of casualties in Japanese waters.

Pyongyang may step up its weapons tests in the next few days in response to allied military exercises scheduled to continue until March 23. Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered his troops to be ready. to repel his country’s adversaries’ “frantic attempts to prepare for war.”

Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program have risen sharply after North Korea tested several nuclear-capable missiles last year and openly threatened to use them in potential conflicts with states. United States and South Korea.

North Korea appears to be using the stalled talks with the United States and the expansion of US-South Korea exercises as an opportunity to expand its weapons arsenal to increase its influence in future relations with the United States. United.

North Korea’s threats, along with China’s rise, have prompted the US to strengthen its alliances with South Korea and Japan. But some analysts say that strengthening Washington-Seoul-Tokyo cooperation could prompt Pyongyang, Beijing and Moscow to strengthen their own trilateral ties. China and Russia, embroiled in a personal conflict with the US, have repeatedly blocked efforts by the US and its allies to tighten UN sanctions against North Korea.

On Monday, North Korea announced that it had tested two cruise missiles from a submarine. It said it was developing cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads, and said the latest test tested the country’s “nuclear war deterrent” stance.

North Korea’s acquisition of submarine-launched missile systems would be worrisome, as the launches would be more difficult to detect and give the North the ability to launch a second strike. However, experts say it will take years, significant resources and major technological upgrades for the heavily sanctioned nation to build a fleet of submarines that can operate quietly and carry out strikes reliably.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that North Korea has improved its submarine launch capabilities since its first test in 2016, and that the United States is studying Sunday’s launches to assess what they mean for the North’s capabilities.

“But, of course, we will not allow any actions by North Korea to deter us or prevent us from taking the actions that we believe are necessary to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Sullivan said.

The joint US-South Korea drills, which began on Monday, include computer simulations of North Korean aggression and other security scenarios and field exercises. According to South Korean defense officials, the field exercises will return to the scale of the large allied spring exercises last held in 2018.

As North Korea tests more than 70 missiles in 2022, both countries have expanded their exercises. These include intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the American mainland and short-range nuclear missiles capable of targeting South Korea.

Top nuclear envoys from South Korea and the United States said in a phone call Monday that North Korea faces uncertain consequences for its provocations. They also called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and focus instead on its people’s livelihoods, saying its decades-long pursuit of nuclear weapons has led to its current economic woes and food shortages, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said.

Later this week, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will travel to Tokyo for a summit with Kishida, where the North Korean threat is expected to be a major topic. Their planned summit shows how a shared security emergency will bring Seoul and Tokyo closer together after years of disputes stemming from Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean peninsula before the end of World War II.


Associated Press writer Marie Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.


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