North Korea fires missiles hours after warning of ‘tougher’ military response

North Korea fires missiles hours after warning of ‘tougher’ military response


North Korea has launched an “unidentified ballistic missile,” Seoul’s military said Thursday, the latest in a record-breaking flash of launches, as Pyongyang warned of a “tougher” military response to the U.S. and its regional allies.

“North Korea fires an unidentified ballistic missile at the East Sea,” South Korea’s General Staff said, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of ??Japan.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden discussed North Korea’s missile test spate on the sidelines of the G20 summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia.

The US leader urged China to use its influence to rein in North Korea after the spate of missile launches raised fears the reclusive regime would soon conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Biden also held talks with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday to discuss ways to counter the threat posed by the North’s “illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” the White House said .

On Thursday, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui criticized those discussions, saying they would “take the situation on the Korean Peninsula to an unpredictable stage.”

“The ‘enhanced US offer of enhanced deterrence’ and the daily increasing military activities by allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts,” Choe said in a statement to state news agency KCNA.

As Washington works to strengthen its security alliance with Tokyo and Seoul, “the more fierce the DPRK’s military counter-action will be,” Choe said, referring to the north by its official name.

Experts said Thursday’s rocket launch was “timed” to coincide with the statement by Pyongyang’s foreign minister.

The North “launched the missile after releasing the statement hours earlier to justify the launch to send its message to the US and Japan,” Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, told AFP .

– a standstill –

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted a series of launches, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, which Seoul said appeared to have failed.

Pyongyang also fired a short-range ballistic missile that effectively crossed the maritime border between the two countries and landed near southern territorial waters for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

President Yoon said at the time it was “effectively a territorial invasion”.

Both launches were part of a Nov. 2 barrage in which Pyongyang fired 23 missiles — more than all of 2017, the year of “fire and fury” when Kim spoke to then-US President Donald Trump on Twitter and in the state Barb swapped media.

Experts say North Korea is jumping at the opportunity to conduct banned missile tests and is confident of avoiding further UN sanctions over Ukraine-linked UN deadlock.

China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic and economic ally, joined Russia in May in vetoing a US-led proposal at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on North Korea.

Washington has responded to North Korea’s sanctions-breaking missile tests by extending drills with South Korea and deploying a strategic bomber.

Pyongyang has also been under a self-imposed coronavirus lockdown since early 2020, which experts say would limit the impact of additional external sanctions.

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