N Korea launched ‘unidentified ballistic missile’, claims Seoul

A ballistic missile was fired by North Korea on Tuesday, said Seoul. This is the second launch by Pyongyang in three days and the first since the United States and South Korea began their largest joint military drills in a span of five years.

The defence co-operation has been ramped up by Washington and Seoul in the face of growing nuclear and military threats from the North, which has conducted multiple provocative banned weapons tests in a few months.

“North Korea fires unidentified ballistic missile towards the East Sea,” said the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a statement, as he referred to the body of water also called the Sea of Japan.

The missile has been fired just days after two “strategic cruise missiles” were launched by Pyongyang from a submarine in what looked like a protest over the US-South Korea drills.

The drills, which are known as Freedom Shield, started on Monday and will continue for 10 days as part of the drive of the allies to counter the growing threats of North Korea.

In a rare step, the military of Seoul this month announced the special forces units of the allies were staging military exercises called “Teak Knife” – which include simulating precision strikes on North Korea’s key facilities – ahead of Freedom Shield.

WATCH | North Korea adopts war deterrent measures; U.S., South Korea to kick off freedom shield

The Freedom Shield exercises emphasise the “changing security environment” due to redoubled aggression of North Korea, the allies stated.

They will “involve wartime procedures to repel potential North Korean attacks and conduct a stabilisation campaign in the North”, said the South Korean military.

It further stressed that the exercise was a “defensive one based on a combined operational plan”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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