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South Korea’s military chief has said North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday.
The two missiles were fired after North Korea’s foreign ministry accused the United States of “provoking”, imposing sanctions on Pyongyang over its weapons program and threatening an open response from Washington.
This is the third test conducted by North Korea in 10 days.
South Korea’s National Security Council has expressed its “deep regret” over North Korea’s continued missile launches.
For its part, Pyongyang fired two “tactical guidance missiles” from a ballistic missile system on a train, NK News reported, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not present at the time of the launch.
Both missiles were reported to have hit a fixed target in Korea’s East Sea.
The U.S. command in the Indo-Pacific region accused North Korea of destabilizing the region because of its “illegal weapons program” and said it believed the latest test was conducted with ballistic missiles.
South Korean officials believe the two missiles were launched from northwestern North Korea near the Chinese border and flew 430 km over the Sea of Japan.
The South Korean Yonhap news agency quoted military officials as saying that both missiles were believed to have been fired at a pre-determined target on an uninhabited North Korean island.
The incident comes after Pyongyang conducted two tests earlier this month on a new hypersonic missile system designed to bypass US-operated missile defense systems.
On Friday, Pyongyang warned of a “strong and decisive response” after the United States imposed sanctions on people involved in North Korea’s missile program.
North Korea has said the latest tests of the hypersonic missile system are part of its “legitimate right” to upgrade its defense capabilities.
On Thursday, South Korea’s defense ministry said North Korea was capable of detecting and intercepting what it called a hypersonic missile.
Ministry spokesman Bo Chiung-chan highlighted the military’s readiness amid fears that North Korea’s latest missile could escape from a joint missile defense system between South Korea and the United States, the Yonhap news agency reported.
“I want to point out to you that the South Korean military not only has the capability to detect this missile, but also to intercept it,” Poe told a news conference. “We continue to work to strengthen our response system.”
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