After #NorthKorea launched three missiles into the ocean, #SouthKorea claims to have issued an air raid alert for residents of an island off its eastern coast. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea said that on Wednesday morning, North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles from Wonsan along its eastern coast.
One of the missiles allegedly came down not far from the eastern maritime border of Korea. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea announced in a statement that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile Wednesday toward the ocean, but they provided no more information, such as how far it had travelled.
The launch came hours after North Korea intensified its venomous language by threatening to use nuclear weapons to make the US and South Korea “pay the most terrible price in history” for continuing extensive military exercises between its rivals.
North Korea has said its recent weapons tests were meant to issue a warning to Washington and Seoul over their series of joint military drills, which it views as an invasion rehearsal, including this week’s exercises involving about 240 warplanes. Pak Jong Chon, a secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party and considered a close confidant of leader Kim Jong Un, called the drills “aggressive and provocative.”
The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned of “more powerful follow-up measures” in retaliation after the United States on Tuesday criticized the expansion of joint military drills with South Korea that it claimed were practice for a potential invasion.
The White House reiterated on Tuesday that the drills are a regular part of South Korea’s training calendar in response to North Korea’s sabre rattling.
“We reject the idea that they are provocative in any way. Speaking of North Korea’s official name,” the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said on Tuesday, “We have made it clear that we have no hostile intent towards the DPRK and call on them to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy.”
“The DPRK still doesn’t reply. While doing so, we will keep collaborating closely with our allies and partners to prevent the North from advancing its illicit weapons programmes and endangering regional security.”
This year, North Korea has increased the frequency of its weapons tests to a record level, launching over 40 ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles under development and an intermediate-range missile shot over Japan. These tests have been accompanied by the North’s escalating nuclear doctrine, which permits preemptive nuclear strikes in ill-defined crisis situations.
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