North Korea has resumed missile tests, raising tensions with its rivals

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NEGATIVE
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters Monday morning, its neighbors said, days after the end of the South Korean-U.S. military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.
The launches — North Korea’s first known missile testing activities in about a month — came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Seoul for a democracy summit.
Outside experts earlier predicted North Korea would extend its run of missile tests and intensify its warlike rhetoric ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November to boost its leverage in future diplomacy.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said North Korea fired three missiles, two together at 7:44 a.m. and the other about 37 minutes later.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary session that the North Korean missiles landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, all outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, and that no damage or injuries have been reported.
Kishida denounced North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile tests as acts “that threaten the peace and safety of Japan, the region and the international society.” He said Japan strongly protested against North Korea over its testing activities, saying they violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the North from engaging in any ballistic activities.
South Korea’s military said it also detected “several” suspected short-range ballistic launches by North Korea on Monday morning.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launches “clear provocation” that threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula.
It said South Korea will maintain readiness to repel any provocation by North Korea, based on its solid military alliance with the United States.
According to Japanese and South Korean assessments, the North Korean missiles fired from its capital region traveled a distance of 300-350 kilometers (about 185-220 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (about 30 miles).Observers say the missiles’ fight distances indicate they are weapons targeting major facilities in South Korea, such as its military headquarters in the central region.
The U.S. State Department condemned the launches, saying they pose a threat to the North’s neighbors and undermine regional security.
A State Department statement said the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remain “ironclad.”The U.S. stations a total of 80,000 troops in South Korea and Japan, the backbone of its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
During the South Korea-U.S. military drills that ended Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided a series of military training exercises involving tanks, artillery guns and paratroopers and called for greater war fighting capabilities.
The 11-day South Korean-U.S. drills involved a computer-simulated command post training and 48 kinds of field exercises, twice the number conducted last year.
The North didn’t perform any missile tests during its rivals’ training, however.
Its missile tests are considered much bigger provocations as North Korea has been pushing hard to mount nuclear warheads on its missiles targeting the U.S. mainland and its allies.
Many experts say North Korea already has nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching all of South Korea and Japan, but it has yet to have functioning long-range missiles that can strike the U.S. mainland.
Before Monday’s launches, North Korea last carried out missile tests in mid-February by firing cruise missiles into the sea.
Animosities on the Korean Peninsula remain high in the wake of North Korea’s barrage of missile tests since 2022.
Many of the tests involved nuclear-capable missiles designed to attack South Korea and the mainland U.S.
The U.S. and South Korean forces have responded by expanding their training exercises and trilateral drills involving Japan.
Experts say North Korea likely believes a bigger weapons arsenal would increase its leverage in future diplomacy with the United States.
They say North Korea would want to win extensive sanctions relief while maintaining its nuclear weapons.
Worries about North Korean military moves have deepened since Kim vowed in a speech in January to rewrite the constitution to eliminate the country’s long-standing goal of seeking peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and to cement South Korea as its “invariable principal enemy.” He said the new charter must specify North Korea would annex and subjugate the South if another war broke out.
Observers say North Korea may launch limited provocations along its tense border with South Korea.
But they say the prospects for a full-scale attack by North Korea are dim as it would know its military is outmatched by the U.S. and South Korean forces.
___Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.
Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.
___Follow AP’s Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

SEOUL, South Korea (AP)—Days after the conclusion of the South Korean-U.S. diplomatic summit, North Korea fired several short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters on Monday morning, according to its neighbors. s. military exercises seen by the North as a practice for an invasion.

The launches, which marked North Korea’s first known missile testing operations in roughly a month, coincided with U. S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was attending a summit on democracy in Seoul. Experts from outside the country had earlier predicted that North Korea would continue to test missiles and escalate its bellicose rhetoric before the U. S. to increase its influence in upcoming negotiations by holding a presidential election in November.

Two of North Korea’s three missile launches occurred simultaneously at 7:44 a.m., according to Japan’s Defense Ministry. m. as well as the other roughly 37 minutes later. Speaking to a parliamentary session, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that no damage or casualties had been reported as a result of the North Korean missiles landing in the waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, between the Korean Peninsula and the country.

The repeated ballistic missile launches by North Korea, according to Kishida, “threaten the peace and safety of Japan, the region, and the international society.”. He claimed that Japan had voiced strong protests against North Korea for violating U.S. sanctions through its testing activities. N. resolutions adopted by the Security Council prohibiting the North from carrying out any ballistic operations.

On Monday morning, the South Korean military reported that it had also discovered “several” possible North Korean short-range ballistic missile launches. The launches have been referred to as “clear provocation” by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endangering peace on the Korean Peninsula. Based on its strong military alliance with the United States, it stated that South Korea will continue to be prepared to fend off any provocation from North Korea.

Based on assessments by Japan and South Korea, the missiles fired by North Korea from its capital region covered a distance of 300-350 kilometers, or roughly 185-220 miles, and could fly as high as 50 kilometers, or about 30 miles, in the air. According to observers, the missiles’ combat ranges suggest that they are armed with the intention of destroying important South Korean infrastructure, including the country’s central military headquarters.

The US. S. The launches have been denounced by the State Department, which claims they jeopardize regional security and put the North’s neighbors at risk. According to a State Department press release, the U. S. devotion to protecting Japan and South Korea is unwavering. “.

The US. s. maintains a military presence in the Asia-Pacific region with 80,000 troops stationed in Japan and South Korea combined.

When South Korea and the U.S. S. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a series of military training exercises involving tanks, artillery guns, and paratroopers that concluded on Thursday. He also made a call for increased warfighting capabilities. The eleven-day match between South Korea and the U. s. exercises comprised 48 different types of field exercises, double the amount carried out the previous year, and a computer-simulated command post training.

But while its rivals were training, the North conducted no missile tests. North Korea has been working hard to equip its missiles with nuclear warheads in order to target the United States, so its missile tests are seen as much greater provocations. s. the continental United States and its allies. Many experts claim that although North Korea does not yet have operational long-range missiles capable of striking the United States, it does already possess nuclear-armed missiles that can reach all of South Korea and Japan. S. continental block.

North Korea last conducted missile tests by launching cruise missiles into the sea in mid-February, prior to Monday’s launches.

After North Korea began testing missiles in large quantities in 2022, tensions on the Korean Peninsula are still very high. The missiles, which were intended to strike both the U.S. mainland and South Korea, were equipped with nuclear capabilities. S. The ‘U. S. South Korean military forces have expanded their trilateral drills involving Japan and training exercises in response.

According to experts, North Korea probably feels that having a larger arsenal of weapons will give it more clout in negotiations with the US in the future. They claim that North Korea would prefer to keep its nuclear weapons in place while receiving significant sanctions relief.

Since Kim promised in a speech in January to rewrite the constitution to do away with the nation’s long-standing goal of seeking peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and to establish South Korea as its “invariable principal enemy,” concerns about North Korea’s military actions have grown. He said that in the event that another war broke out, North Korea would annex and subjugate the South, as specified in the new charter.

On its tense border with South Korea, observers predict that North Korea may carry out a few limited provocations. Nevertheless, they claim that the likelihood of a full-scale attack by North Korea is low because it would realize that the U.S. military is superior. S. as well as South Korean troops.

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