Saturday, May 18, 2024

North Korea fires missiles hours after Biden leaves Asia

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles early on Wednesday morning, South Korea’s military has said.

Authorities in Seoul said the missiles were fired in the space of less than an hour from the Sunan area in Pyongyang.

It comes just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden left the region, following a trip that saw him vowing to bolster measures to deter North Korea.

North Korea has been test-firing a flurry of ballistic missiles since the beginning of this year.

Japan confirmed at least two launches happened on Wednesday but acknowledged there may have been more.

Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said the first missile flew about 300 kilometres, while the second travelled about 750 km.

Kishi criticized the launches, saying they were “not acceptable,” adding that it would “threaten the peace, stability, and safety of Japan and the international community.”

In a meeting convened after the missile launch, South Korea’s National Security Council called the test a “grave provocation,” the presidential office said.

The launches came hours after Biden departed for the U.S. on Tuesday evening, after a five-day trip to South Korea and Japan.

U.S. and South Korean officials had earlier warned that North Korea appeared ready for another weapons test, possibly during the Biden visit. During his visit to Seoul over the weekend, Biden and South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol agreed to hold bigger military drills and deploy more U.S. strategic assets if necessary to deter North Korea’s intensifying weapons tests.

Biden had said the United States was “prepared for anything North Korea does.”

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