North Korea launched two more short-range missiles Thursday in its second missile test in less than a week.
The launch took place Thursday afternoon at North Korea’s Sino-ri missile base, located in Kusong approximately 130 miles north of the South Korea border, with the first missile traveling 260 miles and the second 170 miles, Fox News reported.
North Korea on Saturday held a short-range ballistic missile test. There were few details immediately available about its launch Thursday. https://t.co/Oo2q5zZuWA
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 9, 2019
Reportedly just 10 minutes after North Korea’s launch, the U.S. Air Force conducted its own missile test. A Minuteman III long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and traveled 4,200 miles.
“It’s important to note that our test launch is not a response or reaction to world events. The launch calendars are built three to five years in advance, and planning for each individual launch begins six months to a year prior to the launch,” Linda Frost, Deputy of Media Operations of the Air Force Global Strike Command, told Fox News.
It is the second ICBM the U.S. has tested this month, and the fourth one so far in 2019.
South Korean and United States officials have been monitoring North Korea’s activities, especially since North Korea’s previous short-range missile launch on Saturday.
Over the weekend, North Korea fired a missile from its eastern coastal town of Wonsan, and it flew toward the East Sea. It was the first North Korean missile test since 2017.
Ahead of the most recent missile launch on Thursday, North Korea insisted that South Korea’s criticisms of the launch were nothing but a “cock-and-bull story,” the Associated Press had reported.
Separately, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman declared the launches a “routine and self-defensive military drill.” The spokesman went on to insist that North Korea has been exerting “maximum patience” in light of stalled nuclear talks with the Trump Administration.
The spokesman further insisted that North Korea demonstrated a self-defense measure in protection of its sovereignty, as it is authorized to do so, and allegations against that action are “baseless.”
Further, the spokesman warned against continued criticisms that could risk moving the situation in a direction “neither we nor they want to see at all.”
The test over the weekend came two weeks after North Korea test-fired a “tactical guided weapon,” which U.S. officials later confirmed was not a ballistic missile. North Korea later referred to it as “rocket artillery.”
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) described the weapon as “tactical” and subsequent reports suggested that it was likely a short-range weapon, rather than a long-range ballistic missile such as North Korea has test-fired in the past, but that it had a “peculiar mode of guiding flight” and “a powerful warhead.”
Kim reportedly called the test and new weapon system one of “very weighty significance in increasing the combat power” of North Korea.