Tensions as North Korea fires ‘back-to-back’ ballistic missiles

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North Korea launches three projectiles toward eastern coast one after another from the Sunan area of its capital Pyongyang, South Korea reports. North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in nearly five years, US and South Korean intelligence officials say. (Reuters Archive) North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast, Seoul's military said, days after South Korea and US leaders agreed to scale up joint military drills and deployment of American weapons.

The three ballistic missile launches occurred in the space of less than an hour from the Sunan area of the North's capital Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.

The missile firings came three days after the leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to consider expanded military exercises to deter North Korean nuclear threats during President Joe Biden’s visit to Seoul.

The launches were North Korea's 17th round of missile firings this year. 

Experts have said North Korea's testing is aimed at modernising its weapons arsenal and at applying pressure on its rivals amid long-dormant nuclear diplomacy.

North Korea's unusual pace in weapons tests this year included its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017 in March.

Biden on North Korea

While in South Korea, Biden joined newly elected President Yoon Suk-yeol for talks, including discussing expanded military exercises to counter Kim Jong-un's sabre-rattling.

On his last day in Seoul, Biden told reporters he had only a short message for Kim: «Hello. Period.»

And he added that the United States was «prepared for anything North Korea does.»

Despite struggling with a recent Covid-19 outbreak, new satellite imagery has indicated the North has resumed construction at a long-dormant nuclear reactor.

US and South Korean intelligence officials have said that North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in nearly five years.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies