With tensions already high in the wake of its launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) over Japan earlier this week, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) today, the Republic of Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to media reports. The classification of the missiles could change though as more intelligence is gathered.
The missiles were fired from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, CNN reported, and mark the sixth launch of North Korean ballistic missiles in the past two weeks. The launches come as the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan has redeployed to the region.
The exact path of the missiles is unclear at the moment. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's office Tweeted, then deleted, a message that at least one of them "likely" flew over Japan. The region is already on edge in the wake of Monday’s North Korean IRBM that flew over the island nation. It was the first time in five years North Korea fired a missile over Japan.
The Yonhap News Agency said the latest North Korean missile launch came “after a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was redeployed to the East Sea the previous day in a show of force against its provocations."
The Ronald Reagan "returned to waters east of South Korea after it departed last week following an exercise with the South Korean Navy and then trilateral anti-submarine warfare drills involving Japan," according to Yonhap. "The carrier is expected to engage in another trilateral exercise with Japan in the international waters of the East Sea later in the day."
"North Korea condemned the United States Thursday for redeploying a U.S. aircraft carrier into the waters east of South Korea, saying that the move poses a 'grave threat to stability in the region," according to Yonhap, citing the official Korean Central News Agency. "The missile launch is widely viewed as the North's protest against Seoul and Washington's latest joint exercises."
We reached out to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet for more details. We will update this story with any information they provide.
This is a developing story. Please stay with The War Zone for updates.
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