June 16, 2023
SEOUL – North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards the East Sea, the military authorities said Thursday.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that it detected two short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Sunan area of North Korea from around 7:25 p.m. to 7:37 p.m. towards the East Sea.
The authorities confirmed that the missiles landed in the East Sea after flying about 780 km each, adding that the details and any additional provocations are being monitored by the South Korean and US intelligence authorities.
These two firings are an apparent protest against the large-scale Combined Joint Live-Fire Exercise that South Korea and the United States held in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, a city close to the inter-Korean border. The drill was held Thursday, the fifth round since May 25, marking the 70th anniversary of the bilateral alliance.
Before the launch, North Korea’s defense ministry spokesperson issued a statement denouncing the live-fire exercise as a “provocative and irresponsible act.”
“Our armed forces will fully counter any form of demonstrative moves and provocation of the enemies,” the official added through the statement published by the Korean Central News Agency.
Moreover, according to local press, an official of the Japanese government said, “The North Korean projectiles seem to have fallen inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.” It is the first time since Feb. 18 that any North Korean ballistic missiles have fallen inside Japan’s EEZ.
North Korea launched its last ballistic missile about two months ago: the Hwasong-18 ICBM on April 13.
Its most recent projectile launching was on May 31, when North Korea fired what it claimed to be a rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite into the West Sea.