NORTH KOREA fired two short-range ballistic missiles at the east coast in its fourth test launch this week.
The launches come after the navies of South Korea, the United States and Japan held trilateral anti-submarine drills for the first time in five years on Friday.
It also follows US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to South Korea this week.
The Japan Coast Guard also reported at least two suspected ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang.
Japan’s state television NHK, citing a government source, said a second missile had landed outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
“(The) missile launch underscores the destabilizing effect of the DPRK’s illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” the U.S. Combatant Command said in a statement. “US commitments to defend the Republic of Korea and Japan remain adamant.”
North Korea fired missiles before and after Harris’ visit to South Korea, extending a record pace of weapons tests this year as it increases the threat of a credible nuclear power hitting the United States and its allies.
Today’s launches mark the fourth test event in the past week, having launched one ballistic missile on Sunday and two ballistic missiles on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, before and after Harris visited South Korea.
Pyongyang also conducted the first ICBM test for the first time since 2017.
Analysts see the accelerated pace of testing as an attempt to build operational weapons and use a world distracted by the Ukraine conflict and other crises to normalize their testing.
“Despite North Korea’s internal weaknesses and international isolation, it is rapidly modernizing its weapons and taking advantage of a world divided by US-China rivalry and Russia’s annexation of more Ukrainian territories,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at the Ewha University in Seoul.
The Kim regime is also playing tough on the Yoon government, while South Korean politics are being hampered by infighting.
Nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches by North Korea have long been banned by the Security Council.
The military did not provide information on the range, height and speed of the missiles.
The isolated country has completed preparations for a nuclear test, a window that could open between China’s party convention in October and US midterm elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said on Wednesday.
This year North Korea conducted more than 20 missile tests, a record number as it refuses to resume long-stalled nuclear talks with the US.
The North has also pushed to improve its missile-firing capability from submarines.
South Korean officials recently said they had spotted signs that North Korea was preparing to test a missile from a submarine.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6343383/north-korea-fires-ballistic-missiles-kamala-harris/ North Korea fires ballistic missiles in its FOURTH test launch in a week after Kamala Harris border visit