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North Korea fires ballistic missiles — RT World News

The launches come days after US and South Korean fighter jets conducted joint drills

North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Friday, the South Korean military said. The latest launches came days after US and South Korean air forces conducted joint exercises over the Korean peninsula.

According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, Pyongyang’s latest show of force featured an apparent ballistic missile that landed outside its exclusive economic zone. Meanwhile, the South Korean military said it detected two projectiles.

The firing also comes after Pyongyang launched two rockets on Sunday as part of the “important final testof its spy satellite program. On Monday, North Korean state media published photos purportedly of the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the city of Incheon, saying they were taken by the test satellite.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a spokesperson for the Pyongyang space agency as saying that the firing confirmed the reliability of the equipment on board “in the optimal environment simulating [a] spatial environment.“The official also revealed that the missiles had reached an altitude of 500 kilometers and carried on board a panoramic camera with”20m resolution,” two multispectral cameras and a video transmitter, among other equipment.

According to the press release, a reconnaissance satellite could be launched into orbit as early as next April.

During this year, North Korea has so far conducted more than 60 missile tests, setting a record. The majority of projectiles launched would be ballistic missiles. However, in mid-October, Pyongyang said it had fired two long-range cruise missiles that could carry tactical nuclear devices as a payload.

North Korea has argued that many of its missile launches came in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which Pyongyang sees as preparation for an attack.

The latest such drills, featuring nuclear-capable US B-52 bombers and South Korean fighter jets, took place over the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.

Washington and Seoul have repeatedly condemned the North’s actions as destabilizing, while portraying their own war games as purely defensive in nature. The United States, South Korea and Japan have also consistently called on North Korea to abandon development of its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

Against this backdrop, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Young-se suggested last month that the country might consider procuring its own nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, last Friday Japan unveiled a $320 billion five-year defense plan, its largest since World War II.

rt Gt

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