North Korea launched two more ballistic missiles Thursday morning, one of which landed in the Sea of Japan, U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News. The second missile landed in North Korea, the officials said.
It’s unclear if Thursday’s launch was in response to the announcement Wednesday from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff that the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan would return to waters east of South Korea. The carrier was part of drills last week with South Korea and Japan.
The office of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also tweeted about the missile launch, but did not immediately provide details.
The launch was the North’s sixth round of weapons firings in less than two weeks, which has prompted condemnation from the U.S. and other countries. It alsoover Japan for the first time in five years. Foreign experts said the missile fired Tuesday involved a weapon capable of reaching the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and beyond.
The country has fired nearly 40 ballistic missilesthis year, exploiting and the resulting deep divide in the U.N. Security Council to accelerate its arms development without risking further sanctions.
The North’s flurry of weapons tests in recent days came after the U.S. staged military drills with South Korea and Japan in the waters off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast.
The drills on Tuesday were conducted to show a joint ability to deter a North Korean attack on the South. The allies conducted training bombing runs by F-15 strike jets using precision munitions and launched two missiles each that are part of the Army Tactical Missile System.
However, one of South Korea’s ballistic missiles malfunctioned and fell on land during the drill, with sound of the blast and subsequent fire triggering panic among residents in the coastal city of Gangneung.
North Korea views such drills as an invasion rehearsal. The country launched its own missile hours before the drills in its most provocative demonstration since 2017. The nuclear-capable ballistic missile that was launched has a range capable of striking Guam, which is home to one of the largest military facilities maintained by the U.S. in Asia. North Korea in 2017 also tested missiles capable of hitting the continental United States.
After Tuesday’s launch, the United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.