North Korea tested a barrage short-range missiles that were fired from multiple locations towards the sea, South Korea's military reported. This was in response to a provocation streak of weapons demonstrations this year, which U.S. officials and South Korean officials believe could lead to a nuclear explosion.
Eight missiles were fired simultaneously over 35 minutes, possibly setting a new record for North Korean ballistic launch records. They were fired from at least four locations, including the eastern and western coasts, and two inland areas near Pyongyang.
According to the report, the missiles flew between 110 and 670 kilometers (68-416.5 miles) at maximum altitudes between 25 and 80 kilometers (15 to 56 mi).
The United States and Japan conducted a joint missile exercise hours later. This was to demonstrate their "rapid reaction capability" and "strong determination” to counter threats, the Defense Ministry of Japan stated in a statement.
General Won In-Choul, Chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, held a videoconference with Gen. Paul LaCamera (an American general who leads the South Korea-U.S. joint forces command in Seoul) and they reiterated the allies' joint defense position, according to Seoul's military.
While on a trip to Seoul, Sung Kim, the special envoy of U.S. President Joe Biden for North Korea, also spoke with South Korean officials about the launches. Seoul's Foreign Ministry stated that they expressed deep regret that North Korea continued to develop weapons despite battling a COVID-19 epidemic at home.
Nobuo Kishi, the Japanese Defense Minister, stated that none of these missiles were found within Japan's exclusive economic area.
The launches were made one day after the U.S. carrier aircraft Ronald Reagan completed a three-day naval drill in the Philippine Sea with South Korea. This was apparently their first joint drill since November 2017. As the two countries seek to improve their defense exercises against North Korean threats,
North Korea has always condemned the combined military exercises of its allies as invasion rehearsals. It often countered these drills with its own missile drills. In 2016, and 2017, short-range launches were used to simulate nuclear attacks on South Korean ports.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol complained to his national security officials about the North Korean missile launches. He said that they were firing them once in nine days this year. According to his office, he pledged to increase the country's defense cooperation with the United States.
These launches were North Korea's 18th round in missile tests in 2022, marking the start of the country's longest streak of intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrations in almost five years.
Experts believe that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is trying to get the United States to recognize the North as a nuclear-power and to negotiate security and economic concessions from a position where they are stronger.