North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, Fox News reported. It was the second such launch in a week and landed in the Sea of Japan, according to multiple reports.
Pyongyang’s latest launch comes just a few days after joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises during a visit to Seoul by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Fox News reported.
“North Korea this morning fired two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea from South Hamkyung Province,” the South Korean government said in a statement released by ABC News. “South Korea and US intelligence are analyzing for any additional information.”
“While our military has strengthened awareness and monitoring, ROK-US [officials] are closely working together and maintaining readiness,” the South Korean government added, according to ABC News.
Kim Yo Jong, Deputy Director of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea and sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, released a statement criticizing the U.S. military’s exercises.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new U.S. administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land,” Jong said in a statement, Reuters reported. “If it wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
“War drills and hostility can never go with dialogue and cooperation,” Kim Yo Jong said.
Austin warned North Korea that the U.S. military was “ready to fight tonight” after being made aware of the comments, according to Fox News.
The missile launch is believed to signify a test to the Biden administration as well as part of Pyongyang’s research and scientific development of its weapon arsenal, according to Fox News. Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense warned in October that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile weapons posed a legitimate threat to global security, according to the Wall Street Journal.
North Korea has yet to show it can launch a weapon that would credibly endanger the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.