North Korea Fires Missilesv

( South Korea’s military said that North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday. This was a day before U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Seoul.

The launch came two days after South Korea and U.S. forces conducted a military rehearsal off the country’s east coast featuring an aircraft carrier. Sunday, North Korea fired another ballistic missile off its east coast toward the sea.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that Wednesday’s missiles were launched from the Sunan area of Pyongyang between 6:10 and 6:20 p.m. (0910-0920 GMT).

They flew roughly 360 km (225 miles), reaching a height of 30 km (19 miles) and a maximum velocity of Mach 6 (4,600 mph or 7,450 kph), they stated. A full investigation is underway.

The Joint Chiefs said that North Korea’s provocation would increase South Korean-U.S. deterrence and response capacity and exacerbate North Korea’s isolation from the international community.

President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office said that South Korea’s national security council conducted an emergency meeting and denounced the test, vowing to continue creating an “overwhelming” capacity to deter North Korea. North Korean state media did not mention the new launches, but leader Kim Jong Un has declared the country’s nuclear weapons and missiles are meant to defend against U.S. threats.

Japan’s coast guard reported a suspected ballistic missile test, which its minister of state for defense, Toshiro Ino, described as “unacceptable.” He claimed Pyongyang’s continuous missile launches threatened Japanese and world security.

After a stop in Japan, Harris will visit the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the neighbors on Thursday.

In a speech hours earlier aboard the destroyer USS Howard in Yokosuka, Harris termed Sunday’s missile launch part of an “illicit weapons program that undermines regional security and violates several U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launch illustrates the “destabilizing consequences” of the North’s illicit weapons programs.

A U.S. State Department official condemned the test as a regional danger but said Washington remained committed to a diplomatic strategy and urged Pyongyang to engage in conversation.

North Korea has tested missiles at an unprecedented speed this year, and this week’s joint practice is a show of force intended to warn against what could be Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017.

South Korean MPs say North Korea has finalized preparations for a nuclear test, which may occur between China’s party conference in October and the U.S. midterm elections in November.