South Korea says North Korea launched at least three ballistic missiles
North Korea has fired at least three ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military announced Tuesday.
The launches, which took place early Wednesday morning local time, were all fired within less than an hour and came from the Sunan area of the capital of Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
South Korea has since upped its surveillance and its military remains ready in coordination with the United States, the statement added.
The office of Japan’s Prime Minister also alerted the public to a possible ballistic missile launch from North Korea, with the Japanese Coast Guard alerting ships to keep an eye out for falling objects.
The launches came hours after President Biden left the region — his first trip to Asia as commander-in-chief — where the U.S. and South Korea agreed to discuss expanding “the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula” in the face of North Korean nuclear threats.
A joint statement from Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol also called Pyongyang’s nuclear program a “grave threat” and urged the isolated nation to return to negotiations.
Prior to the trip, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the Biden administration was bracing for a possible ballistic missile or nuclear test from North Korea.
North Korea has fired more than 15 rounds of missile launches so far this year, with U.S. military and intelligence officials predicting that Pyongyang may be preparing for an underground nuclear test, which would be its first in nearly five years.
Earlier on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price relayed such concerns, telling reporters that Pyongyang may be readying a major weapons test.
“Our concern for another potential provocation, be it an [intercontinental ballistic missile] launch, be a potential seventh nuclear weapons test, our concern has not abated in any way,” he said.
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