June 16, 2023 10:06
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea from Sunan in Pyongyang on Thursday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here.
The missiles were apparently fired in protest against large-scale South Korea-U.S. live-fire drills staged from May 25 - June 15.
They were fired between 7:25 p.m. and 7:37 p.m., an unusual time. "We have stepped up vigilance to prepare for another possible provocation," the JCS said. Japanese media reported that both missiles fell inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. "We speculate that North Korea fired the missiles in time for the end of the live-fire drills," a military spokesman here said.
Thursday's part of the drills was conducted in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, observed by President Yoon Suk-yeol and Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup. Last week, the defense minister of Poland, a major importer of South Korean weapons, also watched the drills last week.
Thursday also marked the 24th anniversary of the South Korean Navy's victory in the First Battle of Yeonpyeong in 1999. Yoon said, "We will resolutely respond to the North's reckless provocations without a moment's hesitation."
Right after the joint drills ended, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency carried a "warning" from a North Korean Defense Ministry spokesman against "irresponsible action that further heightens military tensions in the region," while pledging to "thoroughly respond to any type of acts of provocation."
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