February 7, 2023

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North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired two ballistic missiles at sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, the South Korean military said.

Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said the ballistic missiles fired by North Korea appeared to have landed outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The missiles flew to an altitude of 550 km (342 miles) and covered a range of 250 km (53 miles), according to Japan’s defense ministry.

Ino said there have been no reports of damage from the missiles so far.

The North’s missile launch comes just days after the country tested a high-thrust solid-fuel engine that experts said would enable faster and more mobile ballistic missile launches as it seeks to develop a new strategic weapon and expand its nuclear and to accelerate missile programs.

The test, overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, was conducted Thursday at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, which was used to test rocket technologies, including rocket engines and launch vehicles, official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.

North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including an ICBM that can reach the US mainland despite international bans and sanctions.

In November, North Korea test-fired an ICMB that Japanese officials said had sufficient range to reach the mainland United States and landed just 200 km (130 miles) short of Japan

Japan on Friday unveiled its biggest military buildup since World War II with a $320 billion plan that will buy missiles capable of hitting China and prepare it for prolonged conflict.