Defense

‘Provocation’: North Korea Fires Ballistic Missiles Ahead Of Kamala Harris’ Trip To South Korea

Photo by LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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North Korea fired two more missiles as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris wraps up a trip to Japan and heads to South Korea, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Harris touched down in Japan to attend the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Monday and is set to visit the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea Thursday, according to Reuters. The launches follow an earlier test Sunday, where a short-range ballistic missile flew across South Korea into the Sea of Japan, one day prior to South Korea and U.S. militaries’ Monday off-coast joint operation.

“North Korea’s provocations will further strengthen the South Korean-U.S. deterrence and response capability, and only deepen North Korea’s isolation from the international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Pelosi Pledges To Denuclearize North Korea Before Visit To Demilitarized Zone)

South Korea’s national security council convened an emergency meeting after Wednesday’s launches promised to make good on a policy of “overwhelming” defenses against the north, Reuters reported.

The launches do not “pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies,” the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement, condemning the “destabilizing” effect of North Korea’s sanctioned ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Japan’s defense minister also condemned the launches as “unacceptable” after Harris pledged U.S. cooperation with Japan over national security issues in a meeting with Fumio Kishida,  according to Reuters.

North Korea has tested a record number of ballistic missiles in 2022, and South Korean leaders expect the communist country to conduct its first nuclear weapons test since 2017 in October, Reuters reported.

“Such a test would result in additional action by the United States to demonstrate our ironclad commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea and to our Japanese allies,” a senior White House official said ahead of Harris’ trip.

South Korea’s defense ministry urged U.S. troops stationed in the country to hold the North Korean threat in “top priority” amid increasing aggression from China against Taiwan, Korea Times reported. Previous statements from Commander Paul LaCamera, who leads the U.S.’ South Korean force, on the military’s “contingency planning” sparked speculation that the U.S. might divert troops away from their base to respond to a Taiwan invasion.

The National Security Council referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the statement from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

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