Earlier yesterday, state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected an army special operations forces exercise that simulated attacks on South Korean islands along the western sea border, which appeared to be in response to the ongoing US-South Korea war games.
North Korea has alarmed South Korean defense officials before with tests of its 300-millimeter rockets and displays of an eight-tube version of the system during military parades. But that assessment was later retracted, and the amended view agreed with the South Korean military’s evaluation of the distance the projectiles had traveled.
North Korea launched three missiles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan this morning, reigniting tensions after a month of heated rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.
Analyst Yang Uk at the Korea Defence and Security Forum told AFP the latest launches by Pyongyang were “carefully calibrated.to avoid revving up tensions too high beyond its control”.
The projectiles, launched at 6:49 a.m. from Gangwon Province, flew 155 miles in a northeasterly direction, South Korea’s joint chief of staff said in a text message.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in did not participate in the meeting and his office didn’t immediately provide further details.
South Korea and USA armed forces are conducing their annual joint drills, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), in Korea.
North Korea this week said the exercises were evidence that the United States planned to invade North Korea.
The photographs also showed the design for the Pukguksong-3, likely a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile being developed for submarine launches.
“Although the launches were no threat to Guam, it reminds us that we can not be complacent”, said George Charfauros, the homeland security adviser on the USA territory.
North Korea warned the USA and South Korea of a “second Korean War” if they went ahead with their annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises which commenced last Monday. But Kim Jong Un’s regime has not tested any ballistic missiles since July 28. The missiles were fired from a tube missile launcher, according to South Korean officials.
These developments were despite President Trump claiming that Kim Jong Un had learnt his lessons by not carrying out his previous threat striking the USA territory of Guam.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary ultimatum to North Korea, warning Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the United States or it will “face fire and fury like the world has never seen”.
The specific plans the spies thought they were capturing showed schematics for the SS-24 Scalpel intercontinental ballistic missile, a Soviet-designed missile that can carry 10 independently targetable warheads across vast distances.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined that none of the missiles posed a threat to North America or Guam, Pacific Command said.