North Korea Launches a Ballistic Missile Off Its East Coast

( – South Korean authorities announced a recent firing of two ballistic missiles on June 24 by North Korea. Military observers with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement which said the launches occurred with only 10 minutes between them and the weapons flew off toward the northeast. They additionally suggested that one of them flew strangely.

The statement said that the first missile went 370 miles while the second only flew 75 miles. It did not indicate where they landed, but typically North Korea’s test missiles crash into the ocean. In a follow-up briefing, Joint Chiefs representative Lee Sung Joon told the public that the second missile may have had something wrong with it. They’re attempting to track where the second missile landed as it likely couldn’t have reached the water.

South Korean reports suggest that the missile may have crashed in the North’s territory since it couldn’t have reached the ocean. The first missile went down into the water off the coast of the North Korean city of Chongjin.

The statement from the Joint Chiefs condemned the launches, calling them provocative and a threat to stability in the region. It also reminded the North that any attacks on their country will earn a military response from the South as well as the United States.

The missile launches followed just two days after the militaries of the United States, Japan, and South Korea finished trilateral military exercises in the area. Military coordination between the three powers have increased in recent years as the North has become more bellicose in word and deed.

The curiously named “Freedom Edge” drills allowed the three nations to enhance their cooperation and response to ballistic missile attacks, potential enemy submarines, and expand surveillance of North Korea’s military. The drills involved many U.S. naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier, multiple destroyers, jets, and other craft from all three countries.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry published a statement condemning the exercises as destabilizing and claimed that they were a precursor to the U.S. attempting to invade China. Russia and North Korea recently signed a mutual defense agreement and it’s rumored that the North is aiding Russia by supplying it with artillery shells to be used in its campaign in Ukraine.

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