North Korea fires two ballistic missiles, South Korean military says

South Korean and United States intelligence authorities are analyzing the launches for additional information.

The South Korean military said it has strengthened its surveillance and monitoring of North Korea while working closely with the US on maintaining its defensive readiness.

Japan’s Coast Guard said it believes the two missiles were launched five minutes apart, at 12:38 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. local time (11:38 p.m. and 11:43 p.m. ET).

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the North Korean projectiles are believed to have fallen into waters outside its exclusive economic zone.

Wednesday’s ballistic missile tests are Pyongyang’s first since US President Joe Biden took office in January and come just days after Pyongyang said it tested long-range cruises missiles on Saturday and Sunday.

North Korea is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law. Previous such tests have been met with international opprobrium and sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

Cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines. Much like an airplane, they stay closer to the ground, making them harder to detect. Most cruise missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Ballistic missiles by comparison are powered only for a short portion of their flight. They are fired on an arcing path that for longer range versions takes them outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and they can handle heavier payloads such as nuclear warheads.

The North Korean military unveiled two new missiles at parades last October and in January. One, which analysts said might be one of the largest in the world, was so big it needed to be put on an 11-axle truck.
But at the North’s most recent military parade last week, there were no missiles to be seen, the parade ranks filled instead by armaments of the smaller battlefield variety.

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