North Korea fired two missile tests as South Korea began joint military drills.
According to Japanese officials, the short-range ballistic missiles were launched from the east coast of North Korea and landed outside the exclusive economic zone.
This activity occurs as the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, along with its accompanying ship group, arrives in South Korean waters for joint military exercises.
Both countries say the drills are defensive. South Korea’s defense ministry said that the carrier’s visit would be part of its “strategic assets” in order to deter North Korea.
On Tuesday, the Nimitz and its strike force will dock at a South Korean naval station in Busan, southeastern Korea.
Monday saw the launch of a nuclear-powered carrier, a guided ballistic cruiser, and two destroyers in air defense exercises with South Korean warships near Jeju Island.
South Korea’s Air Force said that the five-day joint air drill will include live fire demonstrations of air to air and ground weapons.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, described the exercise as a rehearsal for invasion. This was a week after the exercise had simulated a nuclear counterattackagainst South Korea and the US.
This is not the first time that North Korean missiles have been seen in the Sea of Japan. one was fired in mid-February.
Analysts believe that Pyongyang is trying to use its nuclear status as leverage to negotiate sanctions relief. This year, Pyongyang fired more than 20 cruise and ballistic missiles.
North Korea previously stated that any US move to down one of its test-missiles would be considered a declaration of war.
According to the country’s state media, its most recent test involved an underwater attack drone capable of generating a radioactive tsunami.
This is the first US carrier visit to South Korea since September.