North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday that landed in waters east of the Korean peninsula, according to the South Korean government.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the launch of the short-range ballistic missile from the eastern coastal area of North Wonsan at 10:48 a.m., just hours after North Korean officials threatened “fiercer” military action amid of alleged provocations by the United States and South Korea. and Japan.
South Korea has increased its surveillance of North Korea amid the growing missile threat and continues to maintain a military readiness for a possible conflict, officials said.
Hours before Thursday’s launch, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hue warned that the recent summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan would disrupt tensions on the Korean peninsula and make them “more unpredictable.” .
US AND SOUTH KOREA THREATEN TO ‘END’ KIM’S REGIME IF NORTH KOREA USES NUCLEAR WEAPONS
“The more enthusiastic the United States is in the ‘enhanced offer of extended deterrence’ to its allies and the more it intensifies military activities of provocation and show-off on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, the fiercer will be the military reaction. North), in direct proportion to it,” Choe said. “It will pose a more serious, realistic and unavoidable threat to the United States and its vassal forces.”
Added Choe: “The United States will be very aware that it is betting on what it will undoubtedly regret.”
The statement came in response to President Joe Biden’s trilateral summit with the state leaders of South Korea and Japan during a regional meeting in Cambodia on Sunday.
The three leaders issued a joint statement strongly condemning North Korea’s recent missile tests and saying they would continue to work together to strengthen deterrence.
Separately, Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including their nuclear weapons, should there be any threat to their sovereignty.
NORTH KOREA WARNS OF ‘MORE POWERFUL’ RESPONSE TO JOINT US AND SOUTH KOREA MILITARY EXERCISES
South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Hong Sik told reporters that security cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo was committed to nuclear deterrence.
North Korea has regularly conducted missile tests, including tests of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, as it seeks to develop a weapon capable of attacking the US. The launch was North Korea’s first missile launch in eight days , although their bombardments have lasted for months.
Many experts say North Korea plans to use the threat of nuclear war to seize further concessions from its rivals.
On Thursday, Choe said that “the United States and its supporters conducted large-scale war exercises to attack one after another, but failed to contain North Korea’s overwhelming reaction.”
North Korea has claimed that its recent testing activities are legitimate military counterattacks to cooperation between the US and South Korean military forces, which calls for military exercises and offensive preparation for strikes against the North.
Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said that their exercises are defensive.
Since the summer, South Korean and US troops have expanded their regular exercises and resumed trilateral training with Japan, while North Korea beefs up its nuclear and missile arsenals. The most recent drills have involved a US aircraft carrier and US B-1B supersonic bombers.
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The ongoing training is a diplomatic change of pace from recent years, where such military exercises between Seoul and Washington were voluntarily reduced or canceled to support North-South Korean diplomacy. They were also hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
US, South Korean and Japanese officials remain concerned that North Korea could develop or test its first nuclear test in five years.
Associated Press contributed to this report.