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N. Korea fires multiple short-range ballistic missiles into East Sea: JCS

18 March 2024 [09:30] - TODAY.AZ

North Korea fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea on Monday, the South Korean military said, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Seoul for a multilateral ministerial conference, Azernews reports, citing Honyap news agency.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the missile launches in the area of Pyongyang between 7:44 a.m. and 8:22 a.m., which flew around 300 kilometers and landed in the East Sea.

"North Korea fired at least three missiles, and their trajectories were similar to those of KN-24," a senior military official said.

The KN-24 is a solid-fuel ballistic missile with a range of up to 410 km and a payload of 400-500 kg.

The South Korean military said it immediately detected and tracked the missiles, and shared the information with the U.S. and Japanese authorities, while a comprehensive analysis is under way.

"We strongly condemn North Korea's latest missile launch, which is a clear provocation that seriously threatens peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the JCS said.

The launch comes about a month after the North fired a new surface-to-sea cruise missile, the Padasuri-6, from its eastern coast on Feb. 14.

It marks the North's second ballistic missile launch of the year since the first on Jan. 14, when it test-fired a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile carrying a hypersonic warhead.

Pyongyang conducted five rounds of cruise missile tests this year, raising concerns over the weapons systems that are harder to detect and shoot down.

The launch comes days after Seoul and Washington wrapped up the annual Freedom Shield exercise, which focused on bolstering deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

North Korea has long denounced the allies' military drills as rehearsals for an invasion against it, while Seoul and Washington have rejected such claims, describing their exercises as defensive in nature.

Earlier in the day, Blinken arrived in Seoul to attend the Summit for Democracy, a ministerial conference that brings together top government officials from some 30 countries.


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