North Korea on Saturday fired four more short-range ballistic missiles at the western Yellow Sea, the South Korean military said, according to reports.
The missile launch comes as the U.S. and South Korea finished six days of military drills, dubbed “Vigilant Storm,” involving hundreds of servicemen, which Pyongyang argued was practice for a full-scale invasion.
North Korea responded to these previously planned drills by launching dozens of short-range ballistic missiles and is suspected of attempting to deploy an intercontinental ballistic missile in a failed test.
Washington and Seoul extended their joint military exercises in response to North Korea’s aggressive tactics.
The launches Saturday began shortly after 11:30 a.m. in North Korea and lasted for nearly 30 minutes, reported Reuters.
The short-range ballistic missiles traveled some 80 miles out to sea and reached an altitude of 10 miles.
Concerns have mounted that Pyongyang could be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017 and leaders from the world’s top democracies called on North Korea to “abandon” its nuclear program and “any other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”
The G7 on Friday urged “the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,] to immediately halt its destabilizing activity, fully abide with all legal obligations under the relevant UNSCRs [United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions]” and comply with international nuclear safeguards.
South Korea was forced to scramble 80 military jets Friday after Pyongyang deployed some 180 warplanes near the shared Military Demarcation Line that divided the two nations following the conclusion of the Korean War in 1953.
North Korea demanded that the U.S. and South Korea halt “provocative” air exercises after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Thursday that the drills would be extended in order to ensure U.S.-South Korean abilities “to fight tonight if necessary.”
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman late Friday issued a statement warning that “sustained provocation is bound to be followed by sustained counteraction,” reported Reuters.