On Saturday, the South Korean military reported that North Korea had launched three ballistic missiles in the direction of the sea east of the Korean Peninsula.
The launches were the most recent in a record-breaking string of missile tests carried out by North Korea this year as Pyongyang continues to advance its weaponry amid concerns that it may undertake a seventh nuclear weapon test.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the three short-range ballistic missiles were launched beginning at around 8 am local time (2300 GMT) from North Hwanghae Province, which is located just south of Pyongyang.
The coast guard of Japan said that North Korea may have shot a ballistic missile and has warned about another potential missile.
A second North Korean missile looked to have touched down outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to NHK.
The missile was fired by North Korea the day after South Korea’s defense ministry declared that a test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle had been completed successfully.
In the first such breach since 2017, five North Korean drones entered South Korea on Monday. As a result, the South Korean military scrambled fighter jets and attack helicopters to try to shoot them down.
Since South Korea’s conservative government, led by President Yoon Suk-yeol, entered office in May and pledged to take a harsher line against the North, relations between North Korea and its ally have gotten even more tense.
Yonhap news agency reported that, excluding Saturday’s launches, North Korea has launched roughly 70 ballistic missiles this year, including about eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
The firing had not yet been mentioned by North Korea’s state-run KCNA, but on Saturday it was reported that leader Kim Jong Un had presided over a party gathering on Friday to decide on policy and strategy for 2023.