North Korea fired two ballistic missiles, Seoul says
by Soo-hyang Choi
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Monday morning, the South Korean military said, a double test that is part of a campaign to increase the number of fires north -Koreans to protest against joint maneuvers by the United States and South Korea.
These two projectiles traveled a distance of about 370 kilometers, said the general staff of the army in Seoul. The Japanese government meanwhile said the missiles landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
In a statement, the South Korean army general staff “strongly condemned” the repeated ballistic tests carried out by Pyongyang and said that the program of military exercises led by Washington and Seoul would not change.
An American aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, and other American naval vessels are to take part in joint maneuvers with the South Korean army on Monday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said.
The USS Nimitz is then due to moor on Tuesday in Busan, a port city in southeastern South Korea where there is a military base.
Pyongyang has intensified its ballistic test campaign since the beginning of the month, launching cruise missiles last week intended, according to the official North Korean press, to strengthen the country’s nuclear counterattack capabilities.
North Korea also said it had tested a new nuclear-capable underwater drone, under the supervision of its number one Kim Jong-un.
These repeated firings coincide with large-scale military exercises conducted by Washington and Seoul in the region, maneuvers that Pyongyang denounces as a threat to its security and preparations for an invasion.
(Soo-hyang Choi report, with Mariko Katsumura in Tokyo; French version Jean Terzian)
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