Kim Jong’s big reaction after South Korea-Japan drill, then conducted ballistic missile test

North Korea tested two ballistic missiles on Monday. This follows North Korea’s recent announcement of aggressive and forceful responses to the United States-South Korea-Japan military exercises. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were launched from the city of Jangyon in southeastern North Korea, with a 10-minute interval between launches. The first missile traveled about 600 kilometers (370 miles), while the second traveled 120 kilometers (75 miles). The destination of the missiles has not been disclosed, but North Korea usually tests missiles toward its eastern waters.

However, the second missile failed to reach these waters, leading South Korean sources to suggest it may have crashed inland in North Korea. There were no immediate reports of casualties on the ground in North Korea. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reiterated its readiness to respond to any provocations from North Korea, in coordination with its military alliance with the United States.

The launch came two days after South Korea, the US and Japan ended their new multidomain trilateral exercise in the region. In recent years, the three countries have been expanding their trilateral security partnership to better deal with growing nuclear threats from North Korea and China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.

The “Freedom’s Edge” drill was intended to increase the sophistication of previous exercises with simultaneous air and naval drills to improve joint ballistic-missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and other skills and capabilities. The three-day exercise involved a U.S. aircraft carrier as well as destroyers, fighter jets and helicopters from the three countries.

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