People walk past a television showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test. AFP
Possibly setting a single-day record for North Korean ballistic launches, the missiles were fired in succession over 35 minutes from areas including the Sunan region near the capital, Pyongyang, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. South Korea’s military didn’t immediately say how far the missiles flew but noted it has heightened its monitoring in case the North fires more missiles.
Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said the country’s military detected at least six launches between the ranges of 300 and 400 kilometres (180 and 240 miles) conducted from North Korea’s inland and western and eastern coastal areas. He said the North was apparently practicing its capability to conduct a quick succession of launches from multiple locations and added that none of the missiles fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The launches came a day after the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan concluded a three-day naval drill with South Korea in the Philippine Sea, apparently their first joint drill involving a carrier since November 2017, as the countries move to upgrade their defense exercises in the face of growing North Korean threats.
The office of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said his national security adviser, Kim Sung-han, will convene a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launches. Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida called for maximum efforts to gather information about the launches and to ensure the safety of aircraft and vessels, although there were no immediate reports of damages.