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North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Sunday, a day after South Korea and the United States concluded their first combined military exercises involving an American aircraft carrier in more than four years.
The missiles were launched from the Sunan area of Pyongyang, the capital of North KoreaSouth Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing a government source, also said the North has fired more missiles.
The launch also followed a visit to Seoul by US frontman on North Korean affairs, US Special Representative Sung Kim, who left on Saturday.
On Friday he met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshi, to prepare for “all contingencies” amid signs that North Korea was preparing to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.
Washington made it clear to Pyongyang directly that it is open to diplomacy, Kim said during the visit, which ended Sunday, noting that he was willing to discuss topics of interest to Pyongyang, such as easing sanctions.
Last week, the The United States has called for more UN sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile launches, but China and Russia vetoed the suggestion, publicly splitting the UN Security Council over North Korea for the first time since it began punishing it in 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.
in the last weeks, North Korea did the internship a series of missiles, including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea’s last tests were on May 25, when it launched three missiles after the United States President Joe Biden concluded a trip to Asia where he accepted new measures to discourage the nuclear-armed state.
The first missile appeared to be the largest ICBM in the North, the Hwasong-17, while an unspecified second missile appeared to have failed mid-flight, South Korean officials said at the time. The third missile was a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
On Saturday, South Korean and American ships concluded three days of exercises in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa, including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine and maritime interdiction operations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Korea said. of the South.
Drills included the USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, among other major warships.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeolwho took office on May 10, he had agreed with Biden to increase bilateral military exercises to deter North Korea.
North Korea has criticized previous joint exercises as an example of Washington’s continuing “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang, despite its speeches on diplomacy.