North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on Tuesday, South Korean authorities said. The missiles were fired towards the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean military. This is the second launch in three days.
The launches follow the start of joint military exercises between the South Korean and US military. North Korea had threatened countermeasures if those exercises took place. The North Korean regime has repeatedly accused the South Koreans and the Americans of organizing exercises in preparation for an attack. Washington and Seoul deny that.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister had warned that North Korea would take “appropriate, swift and overwhelming action” if the exercises went ahead. Kim Yo-jong, who has often publicly lashed out at the two allies, says the situation is being monitored and action can be taken at any time if Pyongyang deems it necessary.
The Freedom Shield exercises will last ten days and are expected to be the largest joint military exercises between the two countries in five years. Its focus is on strengthening South Korean defenses against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the allies said.
Despite international criticism, North Korea launched a record number of missiles last year and has fired several more this year. South Korea is responding to the tests by, among other things, increasing military cooperation with the US. Tensions between the two Koreas have risen as a result.
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