Another ballistic missile launch by North Korea has been condemned as a “serious provocation damaging peace”.
South Korea’s military said a pair of short-range ballistic missiles were detected overnight Saturday, flying into its eastern waters, the latest in the country’s barrage of weapons tests in recent days.
The launch, North Korea’s sixth round of weapons tests in two weeks, came hours after the United States and South Korea finished a new round of naval exercises off the east coast of the Korean peninsula. The exercises involved nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
North Korea’s military defended its recent missile tests as a “fair reaction” to what it called intimidating military exercises. He said the US redeployment of the aircraft carrier near the Korean peninsula was causing a “considerably huge negative splash” on regional security.
The Reagan and her battle group returned to the area after North Korea fired a powerful missile over Japan earlier this week to protest the carrier group’s earlier training with South Korea.
North Korea views US and South Korean military exercises as an invasion drill and is especially sensitive if such exercises involve US strategic assets such as an aircraft carrier.
The country has argued that it was forced to pursue a nuclear weapons program to counter US nuclear threats, though US and South Korean officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking the North.
In the past two weeks, North Korea has fired 10 ballistic missiles into the sea in five launch events.
Recent weapons tests include nuclear-capable plane missile that flew over japan for the first time in five years and demonstrated a range to attack the US Pacific Territory of Guam and beyond.
Earlier this year, North Korea tested other nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that put the mainland United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan, within striking distance.
The flurry of evidence from North Korea indicates that its leader, Kim Jong Un, has no intention of resuming diplomacy with the United States and wants to focus on expanding his weapons arsenal.