North Korea fires eight ballistic missiles after joint US-South Korea exercises

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North Korea fired on the morning of June 5, eight short-range ballistic missiles out to sea off its eastern coast, a day after South Korea and the United States they concluded their first combined military exercises with a US aircraft carrier in more than four years.

The missiles were fired from the Sunan area, in the North Korean capital, Pyongyangreported the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea.

Japanese news agency kyodociting a government source, also said that North Korea had launched multiple missiles.

The launch came after the visit to Seoul of the US Special Representative for North Korean Affairs Sung Kimwhich departed on Saturday.

On Friday, he met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshito prepare for “all contingencies” amid signs that North Korea was preparing to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.

Washington has made it very clear directly to Pyongyang that is open to diplomacyKim said during the visit, which ended on Sunday, noting that he was willing to discuss issues of interest to Pyongyang, such as sanctions relief.

In the past week, The United States called for more UN sanctions on Pyongyang for its ballistic missile launches, But China and Russia vetoed the suggestion, publicly splitting the UN Security Council over North Korea for the first time since it began imposing sanctions in 2006, when it conducted its first nuclear test.

In the last weeks, North Korea has conducted test launches of various missiless, including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea’s most recent tests took place on May 25, when he launched three missiles after US President Joe Biden wrapped up a trip to Asia in which he agreed to new measures to deter Pyongyang.

The first missile appeared to be the largest ICBM in the North, the Hwasong-17, while a second unspecified missile appeared to have failed in mid-flight, South Korean officials said at the time. The third missile was a Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM).

Photo: Reuters

On Saturday, South Korean and U.S. ships wrapped up three days of exercises in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa, including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine and maritime interdiction operationsSouth Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The exercises included the USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrieramong other important warships.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10, had agreed with Biden to increase bilateral military exercises to deter North Korea.

North Korea has criticized the previous joint drills as an example of Washington’s continued “hostile policies” toward Pyongyang, despite its talk of diplomacy.

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