North Korea warns US against ‘more fierce’ military action, tests short-range missile

Seoul, South Korea

North Korea tested a ballistic missile on Thursday as it warned the United States of a “fiercere military response” to Washington’s strengthened defense ties with South Korea and Japan amid rising regional tensions.

In a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said that the United States’ strengthening of deterrence extended to its allies in the region ” is a bet they will certainly regret”.

The larger the US military presence in the region, “the fiercer the (North Korean) military response will be, in direct proportion to it,” Choe said.

“The United States will be well aware that it is playing, which it will certainly regret,” Choe said, adding that recent large-scale joint military exercises between the United States and its allies had “failed to contain” the reaction of North Korea.

KCNA’s statement said the warning was in response to trilateral talks between the United States, South Korea and Japan on Sunday during the ASEAN Summit. At the meeting, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to enhancing extensive deterrence and defending South Korea and Japan with a “full range of capabilities”, including nuclear weapons.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have steadily increased this year, with South Korea and the United States responding to Pyongyang’s missile tests by stepping up joint drills and military drills, as well as their own missile tests.

On Thursday, South Korea and the United States conducted a missile defense drill, during which the two countries reaffirmed their firm joint defense stance, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

Later Thursday, South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile from the Wonsan area of ​​Kangwon province at around 10:48 a.m. local time.

He said the missile, which landed in waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, had a flight range of around 240 kilometers (149 miles), reached an altitude of around 47 kilometers (29 miles ) and reached a top speed of around Mach 4 – indicating it traveled four times the speed of sound, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

South Korea’s military has stepped up monitoring and is cooperating closely with the United States, the joint chiefs added.

from Japan The Defense Ministry said no missiles fell on Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to a statement released Thursday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Tokyo continues “to collect and analyze necessary information and closely monitor North Korean military trends in close cooperation with the United States and South Korea.” .

This marks the 33rd day this year that North Korea has conducted a missile test, according to a CNN tally. The tally includes both ballistic and cruise missiles. By contrast, he only conducted four tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.

US and international observers have been warning for months that North Korea appears to be preparing for an underground nuclear test, with satellite images showing activity at the nuclear test site. Such a test would be the hermit nation’s first in five years.

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