North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles Again During U.S. and South Korea Joint Naval Exercise

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Kim Jong Un is back at it. According to South Korea’s military on Monday, North Korea launched two additional short-range missiles from its east coast. This is not a new venture by North Korea. We reported that the North Korean hermit kingdom launched a ballistic weapon in November shortly after it threatened a “fiercer” military response to the United States increasing cooperation with Japan and South Korea.

We also reported this earlier in March:

North Korea responded to the U.S.-South Korea joint military drills, simulating an attack against an unspecified South Korean airport and firing at least six rockets in a live fire exercise controlled by Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean state media reported the news in a stilted, fawning manner.

Kim Jong Un was general secretary of the Workers’ Part of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He gave field guidance to the Hwasong Artillery Unit, which is charged with the crucial operational task of the Korean People’s Army’s Army on the western frontier on March 9, and also watched a fire attack drill.

Commanding officers of the unit greeted the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un right away.

He highly appreciated that all the service personnel is intensifying their combat and political training in a stand-by posture with high-class consciousness, transparent will to deal with the enemy, and resolute viewpoint on struggle and steadily perfecting their operational capability to successfully carry out their important military task.

According to Reuters, the launch was in response to the joint naval exercise being held by the U.S.A. and South Korea in part to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the two nations.

Two short-range ballistic missiles from North Korea were fired off the country’s east coast Monday, South Korea’s military reported. This was just after an aircraft carrier of the United States conducted joint naval exercises with South Korea as a warning to Pyongyang.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles flew approximately 370km (230 miles) after launching from North Hwanghae at 7:47 AM (2247 GMT on Sunday).

North Korea’s most recent launch occurred as an American carrier strike group, led by USS Nimitz, joined military exercises in international waters just off South Korea’s southern island of Jeju.

A Reuters graphic illustrates the dramatic increase in missile launches during Kim Jong Un’s reign.

Recent weeks have seen North Korea intensify its efforts.

Multiple cruise missiles were fired to simulate tactical nuclear attacks and it also tested a “nuclear-capable underwater attack drone”.

The attack drone test took place on Friday. Kim Jong Un demanded that the joint military drills stop.

The test saw the North Korean drone hovering underwater for more than 59 hours at a depth between 80 and 150 meters (260 to 500 feet) and then detonate a non-nuclear payload off the coast of North Korea on Thursday, according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA.

Analysts believe North Korea is displaying its increasing nuclear threats to Washington, and Seoul. However, they remain skeptical about whether the submarine vehicle is available for deployment.

Japan and South Korea have condemned the launches. Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney (commander of the strike group) confirmed that the U.S. is aware of North Korea’s activities and noted:

Sweeney, speaking from the carrier, said that it was important for us to be in a position to share information with our navy allies.

When asked about the growing demand in South Korea to deploy American strategic assets permanently, he replied: “The United States has deployed strategic assets at hand every day and can continue to deploy them.”

They aren’t impressed by the North Koreans’ saber-rattling. The situation is worth keeping an eye on, even though the joint exercises are continuing this week.