North Korea Fires 2 Missiles Into Sea on Final Day of South Korea’s Drills

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
October 28, 2022Asia & Pacific
North Korea Fires 2 Missiles Into Sea on Final Day of South Korea’s Drills
People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Oct. 28, 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) off its east coast on Friday, according to South Korea’s military.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the two launches came from the North’s Tongchon area around midday.

The launches on Friday were North Korea’s first ballistic missile tests since Oct. 14, and came on the final day of South Korea’s annual 12-day “Hoguk” field exercises, involving an unspecified number of U.S. troops.

Seoul and Washington say the drills are defensive and are aimed at countering Pyongyang’s threats. The South Korean and U.S. air forces also plan to carry out large-scale training exercises next week.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang sees these drills as preparation for an attack or invasion, and regards them as provocative. It has said that its recent missile launches were in protest against the joint exercises.

The two missile firings on Friday come amid recent heightened military tensions. North Korea and South Korea on Oct. 24 exchanged warning shots off the Korean west coast, accusing each other of breaching their maritime borders.

North Korea has also fired hundreds of shells in recent days in inter-Korean maritime buffer zones that had been established by the two sides in 2018 to reduce frontline military tensions. North Korea said the artillery firings were in reaction to South Korean live-fire exercises at land border areas.

In response to the two SRBM launches Friday, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command highlighted the “destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, but said that it didn’t pose an immediate threat to the United States or its allies.

“Our military is maintaining full readiness posture,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It said the country has boosted its monitoring and security and is closely coordinating with the United States.

North Korea has conducted a record number of tests this year, including short-range missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and others.

The United States and its allies fear that North Korea could be preparing to resume testing nuclear bombs for the first time since 2017.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said that North Korea has completed all the technical preparations needed for an underground blast at its Punggye-ri test site, which was officially shuttered since 2018. North Korea held six nuclear tests there from 2006 to 2017.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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