North Korea fired 25 short-range missiles off its eastern coast into the Sea of Japan, the rogue nation’s latest show of force amid ongoing joint South Korea-US military drills.
The defense ministry in Seoul said 10 projectiles were initially fired over a span of 10 minutes, followed by eight more after two hours and the remaining seven at about 9:30 pm local time.
The missiles were fired from the eastern coastal region near Wonsan and flew about 70 kilometers (42 miles) eastward over the Sea of Japan before plunging into the waters, said a defense ministry spokesman.
South Korea’s military is maintaining utmost combat readiness in order to brace for the possibility of more launches, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Seoul called on North Korea to stop the “reckless provocation” while Washington urged an end to the tests immediately, saying they risked inflaming regional tensions.
“We urge North Korea to stop provocative activities that will heighten military tension across the border,” a defense ministry spokesman said.
Pyongyang insisted its missile and rocket tests were justifiable self-defense drills in response to “war games” by South Korea and the US.
The launch also came two days after the North’s National Defense Commission threatened to demonstrate its nuclear deterrence.
“Additional measures will be taken to demonstrate its might one after another as long as the US nuclear threat and blackmail persist as now,” the commission said in a statement.
The projectiles were believed to be “FROG” short-range surface-to-surface missiles, introduced by the former Soviet Union during the 1960s. These missiles have a maximum range of about 70 kilometers.
By Maesie Bertumen