OAN’s Roy Francis
8:35 AM – Wednesday, July 19, 2023
North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea in what officials are saying is a retaliatory move to the United States’ nuclear-armed submarine which was deployed to South Korea.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that around 3:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning, the North had fired two missiles from the Sunan area, near Pyongyang. The missiles flew a little around 550 kilometers (approximately 340 miles) before going down in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.
“The detailed specifications of these missiles are being analyzed by intelligence authorities of South Korean and the US,” the JCS said.
The JCS also condemned the launch by North Korea saying that it is a “major provocation” that threatens the peace and stability in the area. They also announced that South Korea and the U.S. militaries are monitoring any further weapons activities.
The Japanese military said that the missiles had come close but landed outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone with no damage to any ships or aircraft. However, the Japanese Defense Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, told reports that the missiles may have made irregular maneuvers while mid-flight.
The Japanese military had made similar remarks to previous launches by the North, comparing such missiles to Russia’s Iskander missile, which is designed to be maneuverable in flight in order to increase its chances of evading missile defense systems.
The launch of the missiles comes at a time of increased tensions in the area.
On Tuesday afternoon, the USS Kentucky, a nuclear-armed submarine arrived in the South Korean city of Busan. The USS Kentucky is the first nuclear-armed submarine to visit South Korea since the 1980s. The visit by the submarine was announced by South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
The arrival of the submarine coincided with the beginning of talks between the allies in the area and the United States in order to figure out and coordinate responses in case of a nuclear war with North Korea.
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said that the deployment of the submarine in the area is damaging to already “fractured lines of communications” between the United States and North Korea.
Last week, North Korea had also tested advanced long-range missiles, as well as threatening to shoot down any U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft in the area that engages in what the regime called “hostile espionage” activities.
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