North Korea continues missile launches, criticises US carrier move
- Launch came soon after North Korea condemned the US for redeploying an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean peninsula, saying it escalated tensions
- Further provocations may be coming as the US, Japan and South Korea said Pyongyang may be ready to conduct its first nuclear test in five years
In September, North Korea revised its nuclear laws, with leader Kim Jong-un declaring his country an “irreversible” nuclear power.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea appeared to have test-fired two short-range missiles from an area near Pyongyang at 6.01 and 6.23am. The first missile reached an altitude of about 100km (60 miles) and travelled 350km while the second reached an altitude of 50km and flew about 800km, Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters.
The aircraft carrier group was redeployed on Wednesday to waters between South Korea and Japan, Yonhap News Agency reported, making a rare U-turn that came as Kim has launched about 10 missiles in less than two weeks.
Japan, South Korea and the US are set for more joint military drills on Thursday, South Korean broadcaster SBS reported. North Korea has bristled for decades against joint exercises with the US, calling them a prelude to an invasion and nuclear war.
Further provocations may be coming, as the US, Japan and South Korea said Pyongyang may be ready to conduct its first nuclear test in five years – with the three pledging a stern and united response if there’s a blast.
The missile that flew over Japan on Tuesday was a suspected Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that travelled about 4,600km, representing the longest-range weapon fired by North Korea since May. It also hearkened back to autumn 2017 when Kim’s regime unleashed its largest barrage of long-range rockets and detonated a nuclear bomb.
Additional reporting be Agence France-Presse