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North Korea On Thursday, South Korean defense officials said they fired three ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters.
Reported provocation comes President Biden Preparing to visit South Korea and Japan late next weekwhere he will discuss “opportunities to deepen our vital security relationship,” the White House says.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a brief statement that the missiles were launched towards the eastern waters of North Korea. No further details were provided. The Japanese Ministry of Defense also confirmed the launch of a missile.
Thursday’s launch was the 16th round of North Korean tests this year. It included North Korea’s first test of an ICBM since 2017, and there are also signs that North Korea is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test in five years at a remote test ground in its northeast, according to the Associated Press.
North Korea has tested a series of missiles this year in an apparent attempt to pressure its rivals amid stalled nuclear diplomacy.
earlier on Thursday, North Korea’s official media confirmed the country’s first infection with the Corona virus Leader Kim Jong Un has also ordered a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the virus. Kim also ordered officials to strengthen the country’s defensive posture to avoid any security vacuum.
But some experts say that despite increased steps to combat the virus, North Korea is likely to continue testing its weapons in a bid to bolster national unity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.