North Korea Ends Year With Ballistic Missiles Launch

NORTH Korea has fired three short range ballistic missiles towards the sea to the east of the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s military says.

This latest volley comes five days after North Korea flew drones into South Korea’s airspace for the first time since 2017.

North Korea has launched more missiles this year than ever before.

Washington said the latest missile launches do not pose an immediate threat to the US or its allies.

The three short-range ballistic missiles were fired from around 08:00 local time (23:00 GMT) from North Hwanghae Province, south of the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“North Korea’s ballistic missile(s) launch is a grave provocation that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community,” they added.

The missiles flew about 350 km (217 miles), the South Korean military said.

Japan’s coastguard earlier said one missile had fallen into the sea.

South Korea’s military this week apologised for failing to shoot down five drones that North Korea flew across their mutual border.

Seoul fired warning shots and sent jets and attack helicopters to shoot down the aircraft, one of which flew close to the capital.

Earlier this month, the US and its Asian allies imposed sanctions on three senior North Korean officials associated with the country’s recent missile tests.

Relations between North and South Korea have deteriorated since South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s conservative government took office in May, promising a tougher stance towards Pyongyang.

North Korea has become more assertive under Kim Jong-un who has overseen much of the recent development of its weapons programme.

He recently said he wanted his country to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force and declared it an “irreversible” nuclear state.

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