SEOUL: Moments before a US aircraft carrier staged joint drills with South Korea in waters south of Jeju Island, Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) toward the East Sea on Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said it detected the launches between 7:47 a.m. and 8 a.m. (local time) from the Chunghwa County area in North Hwanghae Province.
The missiles flew 370 kilometres before crashing into the sea, Yonhap News Agency stated in its report.
Pyongyang’s latest provocation came as South Korea and the US began the Ssangyong (dual dragon) amphibious landing exercise last week. It is set to conclude next Monday.
The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group also trained together with the South’s major warships in waters south of the peninsula Monday, Yonhap reported citing the South Korean Navy.
“On the basis of the South Korea-US alliance over the past 70 years, the South Korean and U.S. navies have established a robust combined maritime defence posture,” Yonhap News Agency quoted the South Korean Navy Captain as saying.
“This exercise not only demonstrated the alliance’s overwhelming capability and (combat) posture but also served as an opportunity to further strengthen the combined defence posture to defend the Republic of Korea,” he added.
Last week, North Korea tested a new underwater nuclear-capable attack drone, Al Jazeera reported citing the country’s state news agency KCNA said on Friday.
Significantly, the drone operated continuously for 59 hours underwater before being destroyed as part of a drill to intimidate the US and South Korean armed forces.
The North Korean military deployed and test-fired the new weapons system this week during a military drill directed by Kim Jong Un, with the aim to determine if it could produce a deadly blast and wave on a “super-scale.”
According to KCNA, “This nuclear underwater assault drone may be launched at any coast and port or operated while being towed by a surface ship.”
The drone was placed in the water off South Hamgyong province on Tuesday and cruised underwater for 59 hours and 12 minutes, at a depth of some 80 to 150 metres, before detonating in waters off its east coast on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported citing the news agency. (ANI)