On Monday, North Korea fired two more missiles off its east coast after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo-jong threatens US forces to halt military drills with South Korea, saying North Korea could turn the Pacific into a ‘firing range’.
These missile launches come after North Korea fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) into the sea off Japan’s west coast, to prompting the US to hold joint military drills with South Korea and separately with Japan on Sunday. While North Korean media confirmed that two missiles had been fired from a multiple rocket launcher that targets 95 km (245 miles) and 337 km (209 miles) away, respectively.
The 600mm multiple rocket launcher mobilized in the firing… is a means of a tactical nuclear weapon, capable of paralyzing an enemy airfield.”
Via Korean Central News Agency
Japan’s Defense Ministry said North Korea fired two missiles, fired around 22:00 GMT that reached a maximum altitude of about 100 km and 50 km, traveling a distance of about 350-400 km before falling outside Japan’s EEZ. While we don’t get any reports of damage to aircraft.
North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community. Japan lodged a strong protest and forcefully condemned North Korea.”
Japan’s Defense Ministry
North Korean leader’s powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, warned the U.S. over joint air drills with its Asian allies over the weekend.
We are carefully examining the influence it would exert on the security of our state. The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the US forces’ action character.”
Kim’s sister also challenged experts’ assessment of its missile capabilities after some pointed out that it took over nine hours for the “sudden” missile launch to take place following an order from leader Kim, and said South Korea didn’t even fly reconnaissance planes at the time of its launch.
We have possessed satisfactory technology and capability and, now will focus on increasing the quantity of their force. We affirm once again that there is no change in our will to make the worst maniacs escalating the tensions pay the price for their action.”
Analysts say tensions could be expected to worsen as South Korea and the United States plan a range of expanded field exercises, including live fire drills, in the coming weeks and months.
Monday’s missile launch and statement are in line with the North Korean foreign ministry’s recent threat to take “unprecedentedly persistent, strong” responses to the allies’ joint military drills. North Korea seems to be trying to stoke tension in the region and reinforce its nuclear capability by raising the issue over the drills, and the statement by Kim Yo Jong signals there would be additional provocations.”
Park Won-gon-a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul
Monday’s missile launch is the North’s third major weapons test this year after it fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including ICBMs capable of striking anywhere in the United States.