SEOUL, South Korea ( Associated Press) – North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles into its eastern waters on Saturday, the latest in a series of weapons tests this year, which came days after tensions escalated in South Korea. Reported flight of North Korean drone in South Korean airspace.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected three surface-to-surface launches south of Pyongyang on Saturday morning. South Korea has increased its vigilance and remains vigilant in close coordination with the United States.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that North Korea fired ballistic missiles.
It was North Korea’s first missile launch in eight days and came five days after South Korea accused Pyongyang of sending five drones into South Korean airspace for the first time since 2017.
South Korean warplanes and helicopters failed to shoot down any North Korean drones seen south of the border before they either went home or disappeared from South Korean radar. One of them managed to reach north of Seoul, causing concern among the South Korean population, for which the military publicly apologized on Tuesday.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has called for strengthening his country’s air defense network and vowed to resolutely face North Korea’s provocations.
On Thursday, South Korea conducted a large-scale military drill to simulate shooting down a drone. On Friday, it launched a solid fuel rocket as part of its efforts to launch a spy satellite into orbit.
North Korea has tested more than 70 ballistic and cruise missiles this year in what some experts see as an effort to modernize its arsenal and gain a foothold in future talks with the United States.
Associated Press writer Yuri Kagiyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.