SEOUL: On Saturday morning, North Korea launched four short-range ballistic missiles into the western sea, according to the South Korean military. The missiles flew around 130 kilometres (80 miles) at an altitude of 20 kilometres (12 miles).
North Korea has fired off a number of missiles this week, including what may have been an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), bringing criticism from Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo and fueling concern that it may be getting ready to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.
The United States and South Korea have finished a six-day Vigilant Storm exercise that started on October 31. The launch on Saturday was fired between 11:31 and 11:59 KST.According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the joint military drill featured over 240 military aircraft, including two US B-1B strategic bombers.
First used in US-South Korean exercises since 2017, the B-1B’s deployment demonstrates “the combined defense systems and commitment of the Republic of Korea and the U.S. to firmly respond to any acts of aggression from North Korea, and the will of the US to implement a strong commitment to extended deterrence,” according to a statement from JCS.
On Friday, Pyongyang requested an end to “provocative” air operations by the US and South Korea. In reaction to 180 North Korean military flights Friday near their shared border, South Korea claimed to have scrambled aircraft.A daily record of 23 missiles were fired by North Korea on Wednesday, with one for the first time making landfall off the coast of South Korea.
The UN Security Council has been divided in recent years about how to handle North Korea, and in May China and Russia blocked a U.S.-led effort to impose additional UN sanctions in retaliation for North Korean missile launches.