North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles as US and Seoul wrap up drills
SEOUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) – North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the western sea on Saturday, the South Korean military said, as Seoul and Washington ended a high-profile six-day military drill .
North Korea launched a series of missiles this week, including a possible failed intercontinental ballistic missile, drawing condemnation from the United States, South Korea and Japan, and sparking speculation that it could prepare to resume nuclear weapons testing for the first time since 2017.
Saturday’s launches between 11:31 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. (02:31-02:59 GMT) come as the United States and South Korea have completed the “Vigilant Storm” exercise they began on Monday.
The missiles traveled about 130 km (80 miles), reaching an altitude of about 20 km (10 miles), Seoul said.
The allied exercise involved some 240 military aircraft and two US B-1B strategic bombers, as well as four F-16 and four F-35A fighters, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It is the first time the B-1B has been deployed in U.S.-South Korean exercises since 2017, showing “the combined defense capabilities and determination of the ROK and the United States to resolutely respond to any provocation.” of North Korea, and the willingness of the United States to implement a strong commitment to extended deterrence,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Pyongyang on Friday demanded that the United States and South Korea end “provocative” air drills. South Korea said it dispatched fighter jets in response to 180 North Korean military flights near the countries’ common border on Friday.
North Korea fired a daily record 23 missiles on Wednesday, including one landing off South Korea’s coast for the first time, after Pyongyang threatened to take strong action unless Washington halted aerial drills allies with South Korea.
As the exchange continued throughout the week, Washington called for an open meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, where it accused Russia and China of providing “general protection” to South Korea. North against any further action by the Security Council.
A spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement late Friday warning that “sustained provocation can only be followed by sustained counter-action”, state media KCNA said.
In recent years, the Security Council has been divided on how to deal with North Korea. In May, China and Russia vetoed a US attempt to impose more UN sanctions in response to North Korean missile launches. (Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Michael Perry and William Mallard)