THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 20, 2023 at 08:35 JST
A TV screen shows a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his daughter, reportedly named Kim Ju Ae, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Feb. 18. (AP Photo)
SEOUL--North Korea has fired a pair of short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, South Korea’s military said, two days after the North resumed testing activities with an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
South Korea detected the two launches from a western coastal town, just north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Monday morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
It said South Korea has boosted its surveillance posture and maintains a readiness in close coordination with the United States.
Japan’s coast guard also issued warnings over what it called possible ballistic missile launches by North Korea.
The coast guard, quoting the Defense Ministry information, said the first missile was believed to have already landed in the water. Kyodo News said it has landed outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone.
Also Monday morning, Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, issued a statement warning of weapons demonstrations over what she called U.S. deployments of strategic military assets to the Korean Peninsula. She called the United States “the worst maniacs.”
“The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the U.S. forces’ action character,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by state media. “We are well aware of the movement of U.S. forces’ strategic strike means recently getting brisk around the Korean Peninsula.”
She didn’t elaborate but could refer to the U.S. flyover of B-1B long-range, supersonic bombers on Sunday for separate trainings with South Korea and Japan.
The B-1B deployment came as response to North Korea’s launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM off its east coast on Saturday in the country’s first missile test since Jan. 1.
North Korea’s state media said Sunday the ICBM test was meant to further bolster its “fatal” nuclear attack capacity and verify the weapon’s reliability and the combat readiness of the country’s nuclear force. In her earlier statement Sunday, Kim Yo Jong threatened to take additional powerful steps over upcoming military drills between the United States and South Korea.
North Korea has steadfastly slammed regular South Korea-U.S. military drills as an invasion rehearsal though the allies say their exercises are defensive in nature.
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