South Korea’s military said North Korea launched three ballistic missiles in succession on Wednesday morning. The move came after US President Joe Biden concluded his visit to Seoul and Tokyo to strengthen trilateral ties.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the three missiles were fired at 6:00 a.m., 6:37 a.m. and 6:42 a.m. from the Sunan area near Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan.
He says he is on heightened alert and is in close contact with US forces. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the convening of a National Security Council meeting.
North Korea has launched projectiles frequently this year. This month alone, it launched a ballistic missile from near Sunan on May 4 and an apparent short-range ballistic missile from a submarine off the eastern town of Sinpho on May 7. It also fired three short-range ballistic missiles from near Sunan on May 12.
The latest launches come a day after Biden completed his trip to Asia.
He first held talks with South Korea’s new president in Seoul for the first time on Saturday. Biden affirmed America’s “extensive deterrence” commitment to South Korea through various means, including nuclear weapons. The two leaders also agreed to discuss stepping up their joint military exercises, which the North sees as a symbol of “hostile forces”.
Biden then met with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in Tokyo on Monday. They shared serious concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and confirmed closer cooperation.
North Korea is currently trying to combat what is believed to be a coronavirus outbreak by taking measures including lockdowns. It apparently aims to show that despite this situation, its nuclear and missile development remains unchanged.