In Brief

North Korea fires ‘short-range missiles’ into sea

Launches come as US hawk John Bolton visits South Korea

North Korea has fired two short-range missiles into the sea, according to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It says the missiles, which were launched early this morning, travelled for 270 miles and reached an altitude of 31 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

“Our military is closely monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” said Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The US and South Korea are in the process of analyzing the details in relation to the launches.”

The BBC reports that the launches come “after anger from the North over planned military exercises between South Korea and the US”.

The Guardian adds “the North has warned the war games could affect the planned resumption of denuclearisation talks”.

The launches come as US National Security Adviser John Bolton, seen as a hawk on North Korea, visited South Korea this week. He was reportedly there to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula as well as ways to strengthen the alliance between Washington and Seoul.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Kyodo News reported that the missiles did not reach Japan’s exclusive economic zone and had no impact on its own national security.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said that the launches are part of the regime’s response to the lack of tangible progress from Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s high profile meeting in the demilitarized zone in June. 

“There’s no date for working level talks. Instead, they’re still testing - Kim is touring potentially nuclear capable submarines and firing missiles,” said Narang.

It is believed that the launch was similar to the one North Korea conducted in May, its first missile test since 2017. 

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry calls the drills planned by South Korea and the US a “rehearsal of war”.

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