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(2nd LD) N. Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles into East Sea: S. Korean military

North Korea 01:36 August 31, 2023

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; ADDS more details throughout)
By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, South Korea's military said Thursday, in apparent protest against combined South Korea-U.S. military drills.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launches from an area in or around Sunan in Pyongyang between around 11:40 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. Wednesday.

The missiles each flew some 360 kilometers before splashing into the waters, the JCS said, with the allies' intelligence authorities conducting further analysis.

The JCS strongly condemned the launches, calling them "acts of significant provocation" that not only undermine peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community.

On Wednesday, the allies staged joint air drills, involving at least one U.S. B-1B strategic bomber, over the Yellow Sea in connection with exercise Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS), which began on Aug. 21 and is set to end Thursday.

Pyongyang has long accused the allies' military drills of being an invasion rehearsal against it, with the North's leader Kim Jong-un recently calling for a "drastic boost" in the country's missile production capability and for war contingency preparations in an "offensive" manner.

The JCS said it would thoroughly carry out UFS and other combined drills, while closely monitoring for signs of additional activity by the North.

The latest saber-rattling also comes after Pyongyang's failed launch of a purported space rocket, carrying what it claimed to be was a military reconnaissance satellite, last Thursday, which marked its second botched attempt this year.

The North last test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles on July 24.

A ballistic missile is launched toward the East Sea from the Jangyon area in South Hwanghae Province on March 14, 2023, in this file photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency the following day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

A ballistic missile is launched toward the East Sea from the Jangyon area in South Hwanghae Province on March 14, 2023, in this file photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency the following day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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