North Korea conducted two short-range ballistic missile launches into its eastern waters on Monday, continuing its weapons displays as the United States moved an aircraft carrier strike group to nearby waters for military exercises with South Korea.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the two missiles were fired from a western inland area south of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, and Japan’s military said they flew on an “irregular” trajectory and reached a maximum altitude of 31 miles before landing outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The launches were the North’s seventh missile event this month and come a day before the USS Nimitz and its strike group are to arrive at the South Korean port of Busan. The launches underscore heightening tensions in the region as the pace of both North Korean weapons tests and the US-South Korea joint military exercises has accelerated in recent months in a cycle of tit-for-tat responses.
The South Korean and Japanese militaries denounced the latest launches as serious provocations threatening regional peace and violating UN Security Council resolutions and said they were working with the United States to analyze the missiles further.
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