North Korea

North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after unprecedented year of tests

Reuters
North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after unprecedented year of tests

KIM JONG-UN. In this file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a visit to the Central Officers School of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on October 18, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

KCNA via Reuters

(1st UPDATE) North Korea fires the missile the day after South Korea's defense ministry announced it had successfully conducted a test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired three ballistic missiles toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, December 31, the South Korean military said.

The launches were the latest in an unprecedented number of missile tests conducted by North Korea this year, as Pyongyang presses on with weapons development amid speculation it could test a nuclear weapon for a seventh time.

The three, short-range ballistic missiles were fired starting around 8 am local time (2300 GMT) from North Hwanghae Province, just south of the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

All three flew at an altitude of around 100 kilometers (62 miles) and covered a range of around 350 kilometres (217 miles), Kyodo news agency reported, citing Japan’s defense ministry.

The launches came a day after South Korea’s defence ministry announced it had successfully conducted a test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle.

On Monday, five North Korean drones crossed into South Korea, prompting the South’s military to scramble fighter jets and attack helicopters to try to shoot them down, in the first such intrusion since 2017.

Relations between North Korea and US-ally South Korea have grown more tense since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s conservative government took over in May, promising a tougher stance toward the North.

Not counting Saturday’s launches, North Korea has fired around 70 ballistic missiles this year, Yonhap news agency said, including about eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

North Korean state media KCNA had yet to mention the launches, but said on Saturday that leader Kim Jong Un had presided over a party meeting on Friday to decide policy and strategy for 2023. – Rappler.com

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