North Korea fires 4 missiles at ‘western’ sea in rare accident

North Korea fires 4 missiles at ‘western’ sea in rare accident
North Korea fires 4 missiles at ‘western’ sea in rare accident

North Korea fires 4 missiles at ‘western’ sea in rare accident

North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the West Sea yesterday in the latest missile launches from Pyongyang this week, the South Korean military said.

This coincided with the conclusion of joint air exercises between South Korea and the United States after two of the American strategic bombers teamed up.

Specifically, the South Korean chiefs of staff said in a statement that the South Korean army yesterday morning detected four short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea from Tunrim in North Pyongan province (west) toward the West Sea.

The distance covered was about 130 km at an altitude of about 20 km and a speed of about Mach 5. This speed is five times faster than the speed of sound.

It is extremely rare for the North to launch a ballistic missile from the northern region into the West Sea instead of the East Sea, so the South Korean military is conducting an analysis of this development.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said South Korean and US intelligence agencies were conducting further analysis of data on the launches.

The exercises, in which the US Air Force used two long-range B-1B bombers, ended yesterday, the last day of a show of force.

Yesterday, the two US strategic bombers participated in the joint air exercises with four South Korean F-35A fighter jets and four US F-16 fighter jets.

While the B-1B supersonic bomber no longer carries nuclear weapons, the US Air Force considers it the “backbone of the long-range bomber” capable of striking anywhere in the world.

The US Air Force says the bomber is capable of carrying 34 tons of ammunition, including cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs.

The bomber’s range can be extended by refueling in the air, allowing it to launch attacks anywhere in the world.

The participation of the two American bombers in the maneuvers came a day after South Korea deployed fighter jets in response to the alleged movement of 180 North Korean fighter jets.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said Friday the series of missile tests conducted by North Korea constitutes a “mockery” of the Security Council, including in veiled criticism of China and Russia.

“These members have justified DPRK’s repeated violations and in turn empowered DPRK and mocked this Council,” she added during a Security Council meeting.

Moscow and Beijing, in turn, blamed Washington for the escalation, and the meeting ended without a joint Security Council statement.

At its ninth session this year, the divided Security Council prevented a decision on the North Korea issue or action to counter rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The 15 members did not agree on a joint statement.

Instead, a number of countries — including the United States, Britain and France — have separately condemned the Pyongyang missile tests.

Ahead of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, his spokesman, said he was “extremely concerned by tensions on the Korean peninsula and the escalation of confrontational rhetoric.”

Moscow and Beijing blame Washington for the escalation on the Korean peninsula

To press

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