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North Korea fires ballistic missiles, marking fourth in a week

US Vice President Kamala Harris looks towards the north side of the border from an observation post as she visits the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

North Korea fired unspecified ballistic missiles toward the east coast on Saturday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, marking Pyongyang’s fourth launch in a week as it ratchets up tension in the Korean peninsula.

The launch comes after the United States and South Korea held the Ulchi Freedom Shield, the biggest joint military drill in about five years, and follows U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to South Korea this week.

Japan’s coast guard also reported at least two suspected ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang. NHK, citing a government source, said that a second missile had landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

North Korea fired missiles before and after Harris’ visit to South Korea, extending a record pace in weapons testing this year as it increases the threat of a credible nuclear power that can strike the United States and its allies.

Pyongyang also conducted the first intercontinental ballistic missile test for the first time since 2017.

Nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by North Korea have long been banned by the Security Council.

The military did not give details of the travel range, height and speed of the missiles.

The isolated country has completed preparations for a nuclear test, a window which could open between China’s party congress in October and the U.S. mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said on Wednesday.

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