SEOUL (CNN) — North Korea fired Two missiles Local time Thursday morning saw short-range ballistic missiles fired into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, according to South Korea’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fueling tensions in the region amid repeated demonstrations of military might this week.
According to a South Korean report, the missile launched from the Samseok area of the North Korean capital was North Korea’s sixth in the past two weeks.
It closely follows that country’s most provocative launch on Tuesday, when North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan without warning, for the first time in five years, prompting Tokyo residents to take shelter.
The US and South Korea later retaliated with missile launches and drills around the peninsula on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Speaking Wednesday during a trip to South America, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that if North Korea continues “on this path” of provocation, “it will increase condemnation, increase isolation and increase measures in response to their actions. Actions.”
Last month, the navies of the United States, Japan and South Korea conducted joint anti-submarine warfare exercises in international waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula to improve response capabilities against North Korean submarine threats.
According to the South Korean Navy, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its carrier strike group, as well as destroyers from South Korea and Japan, participated in the joint exercise.
Pyongyang on Thursday accused the US of contributing to tensions on the Korean Peninsula and retaliated with its own launches.
The US blames Russia and China for encouraging Pyongyang
North Korea’s latest launch came hours after a Security Council meeting on its weapons program at United Nations headquarters in New York.
In her intervention before the council, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia and China of enabling the nation without naming them.
North Korea “enjoys the blanket protection of two members of this council. These two members have gone out of their way to justify the DPRK’s continued provocations and block any attempt to renew the sanctions regime,” he said.
Referring to Russia and China, Thomas-Greenfield said, “Two permanent members of the Security Council have allowed [el líder norcoreano] Kim Jong Un continues these “provocations”.
But China responded that it was Washington that was stirring up the tension.
“The US has recently been strengthening its military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region and intensifying the risk of military conflict over the nuclear issue,” Chinese Deputy Ambassador to the UN Zheng Shuang told a Security Council meeting.
He added that the US was “poisoning the regional security environment”.
Russia also blamed the US.
“It is clear that Pyongyang’s missile launches were a response to short-sighted US military actions,” said Anna Evstigneeva, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN.
More tests are expected from North Korea
Experts warn that recent North Korean tests could mean an even bigger escalation in weapons testing is on the horizon.
“North Korea is going to continue to conduct missile tests until the current round of modernization is complete,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation’s East Asia Nonproliferation Program, told CNN earlier this week.
He added that a nuclear test could come at any moment.
South Korean and US officials have warned since May that North Korea may be preparing for a nuclear test, after satellite images show activity at its underground nuclear test facility.
If North Korea conducts the test, it would be the country’s seventh underground nuclear test and the first in nearly five years.
Richard Roth, Johnny Hallam, Larry Register and Sahar Akbarzai contributed reporting.