SEOUL (AP) — North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast Thursday in its third missile test this week, the South Korean military said, as Vice President Kamala Harris warned the country against its activities. “destabilizing” weapons.
South Korean defense officials said they were analyzing data from the North Korean test to help determine what type of missile North Korea launched. North Korea has conducted three missile tests since Sunday. In the previous two tests, it launched a total of three short-range ballistic missiles.
South Korean officials said they suspected those missiles were likely KN-23, a type of short-range ballistic missile that can maneuver in flight, making it difficult to intercept.
The KN-23 is among a series of new missiles the North Korean military has been testing in recent years after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered it to develop “smaller, lighter, more tactical nuclear weapons” to target to South Korea, Japan. and US military bases in those two countries.
This week’s three tests by North Korea came as South Korea and the United States held a four-day joint naval exercise that ended Thursday off the east coast of the Korean peninsula. When President Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea met in May, they agreed to expand joint military exercises to demonstrate their combined deterrent against North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threat.
North Korea calls such military exercises invasion rehearsals and has often countered them by conducting weapons tests.
Thursday’s test came hours after Ms Harris met Mr Yoon in Seoul to discuss military and economic ties between the allies.
A spokesman for Ms Harris did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the North Korean release.
But on Wednesday, the same day North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the waters off its east coast, Harris told The New York Times that her message to Kim was that “we believe his recent activity has been destabilizing and in provocative.” in many ways” and that “we stand with our allies.”
The next day, while visiting the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, he was asked about recent test launches.
“It is clearly a provocation and is intended, we believe, to destabilize the region. And we are taking it seriously, and everyone should,” he said.
Harris later said that North Korea was under a “brutal dictatorship.”
“Our shared goal, the United States and the Republic of Korea, is a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” said Ms. Harris.