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North Korea cites ‘fair countermeasures’ as it launches more missiles, eight in two weeks


North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea on Sunday, the South’s military said, the latest in a blitz of launches amid tensions over US-led military exercises in the region, Yonhap reported.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the launches from the southeast — the seventh and eighth in two weeks — without giving further details.

“Intensifying our monitoring and vigilance, our military maintains full combat readiness in close cooperation with the United States,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to Yonhap.

North Korea on Saturday defended its recent series of missile tests as a legitimate response to US military threats, following days of joint military exercises between the South, Japan and the US.

The Japanese Prime Minister’s Office also confirmed on Twitter at least one of Sunday’s launches. “North Korea launched what is believed to be a ballistic missile. More updates are expected,” the office said.

The missiles fired toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of ​​Japan, fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Kyodo news agency reported.
The coast guard said it had so far received no reports of damage to Japanese ships, national broadcaster NHK reported.
Sunday’s launches were the latest in a series of intermediate-range ballistic missiles fired over Japan on Tuesday, prompting people in the affected areas to take cover.

And on Thursday, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles, the same day Seoul, Tokyo and Washington conducted new exercises involving a US Navy destroyer from the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group.

The United States redeployed a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to waters east of South Korea as part of a large-scale military response to Pyongyang’s tests on Tuesday, which also included joint bombing and missile drills.
The redeployment of the aircraft carrier sparked an angry reaction from the North, with the foreign ministry saying it posed a “serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”
The drills between South Korea and the United States ended on Saturday, Yonhap reported.

Seoul’s military said it had scrambled 30 fighter jets on Thursday after 12 North Korean warplanes conducted a rare “formation flight north of the inter-Korean air border [and] conducted air-to-surface firing exercises.”


Thursday’s launches appeared to be the first time North Korea has fired missiles from Samsak, near the capital.

The recent launches were “fair countermeasures by the Korean People’s Army,” Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss Pyongyang’s Tuesday launch over Japan.
At the meeting, China, North Korea’s longtime ally and economic benefactor, accused Washington of provoking a series of missile launches by Kim Jong Un’s regime.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for “strengthening” existing sanctions against North Korea, which China and Russia vetoed in May.

Mr Kim declared isolated North Korea an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending the possibility of denuclearization talks.


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