N. Korea fires ballistic missiles after US-S. Korea drills

Dec 22, 2022, 9:54 AM | Updated: Dec 23, 2022, 3:10 am
FILE - Flags of North Korea, rear, and South Korea, front, flutter in the wind as pictured from the...

FILE - Flags of North Korea, rear, and South Korea, front, flutter in the wind as pictured from the border area between two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, on Aug. 9, 2021. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. (Im Byung-shik/Yonhap via AP, File)

(Im Byung-shik/Yonhap via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters on Friday, its latest weapons demonstration that came days after U.S. and South Korean warplanes conducted joint drills that North Korea views as an invasion rehearsal.

North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year in what some experts call an attempt to bolster its weapons capability and pressure its rivals to make concessions such as sanctions relief in future negotiations. Recently, the North also claimed to have performed major tests needed to acquire its first spy satellite and a more mobile intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

South Korea’s military detected the two missile launches from North Korea’s capital region at around 4:32 p.m. on Friday. Japan said it also confirmed at least one missile launch by North Korea.

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what kinds of missiles North Korea fired. South Korea’s military said the missiles traveled about 250 kilometers (155 miles) and 350 kilometers (220 miles) respectively before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Japanese Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said that one missile detected by Japan flew as far as 300 kilometers (180 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles). He said that missile might have showed an “irregular” trajectory, a possible reference to North Korea’s highly maneuverable, nuclear-capable KN-23 missile, which was modeled on Russia’s Iskander missile.

South Korea’s military called the launches “a grave provocation” that hurts international peace. It said South Korea will maintain a firm readiness and closely monitor North Korean moves in coordination with the United States. Ino also accused North Korea of significantly raising tensions with repeated weapons tests.

The launches could be a response to the U.S.-South Korean aerial military exercises near the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, as North Korea has said its torrid run of testing activities in past months were meant as a warning over its rivals’ previous combined drills. Washington and Seoul have said their drills are defensive in nature, but North Korea calls them practice for an invasion.

The latest U.S.-South Korean drills drew B-52 nuclear-capable bombers and F-22 stealth fighter jets from the United States and other advanced warplanes from South Korea. The training was part of a bilateral agreement on boosting a U.S. commitment to defend its Asian ally with all available military capabilities, including nuclear, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

The F-22 jets were supposed to stay in South Korea for more joint drills this week with the South Korean air force, but the U.S. aircraft eventually returned to their base in Japan due to weather conditions, South Korean defense officials said.

The aerial drills came after North Korea said it used old missiles as launch vehicles to test cameras and other systems on Sunday for the development of its first military reconnaissance satellite. Its state media also published low-resolution photos of South Korean cities as viewed from space.

Some civilian experts in South Korea said the photos were too crude for surveillance purposes and that the launches were likely a cover for tests of North Korea’s missile technology. South Korea’s military has maintained North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles.

Such assessments have infuriated North Korea, with the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issuing crude insults of unidentified South Korean experts. Kim Yo Jong said there was no reason to use an expensive, high-resolution camera for a single-shot test.

Kim Yo Jong also scoffed at South Korea’s previous assessment that North Korea still has technological hurdles to overcome to acquire functioning ICBMs that can launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. homeland — such as the ability to protect its warheads from the harsh conditions of atmospheric reentry.

To prove the North’s ICBM capability, she suggested that North Korea might carry out a standard-trajectory ICBM launch. All of the North’s previous ICBM launches were made at a steep angle to avoid neighboring countries. A normal-angle ICBM launch could sharply inflame regional animosities and trigger a strong response from the U.S. as the weapon would fly toward the Pacific Ocean.

A spy satellite and a solid-fueled ICBM are among the high-tech weapons systems that Kim Jong Un has vowed to introduce to cope with what he calls U.S. hostility. Other weapons systems he wants to procure include missiles with multi-warheads, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-powered submarines and hypersonic missiles.

Last week, North Korea tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel motor” that experts say would be used for a solid-fueled missile, which is more agile and harder to detect before launches than liquid-fueled weapons.


Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

7 hurt, 1 missing in Polish vicarage explosion, collapse

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Firefighters in southern Poland say that seven people have been injured and one is missing after an explosion demolished half of an old Evangelical parish house in Katowice. Firefighters say the explosion Friday morning was most probably caused by gas that was used for heating and cooking in the three-story brick […]
1 day ago
FILE - Syrians walk through destruction in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weap...
Associated Press

Watchdog blames Syria’s air force for deadly chlorine attack

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An investigation by the global chemical weapons watchdog established there are “reasonable grounds to believe” Syria’s air force dropped two cylinders containing chlorine gas on the city of Douma in April 2018, killing 43 people. A report published Friday by a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Germany hopes to get ‘green hydrogen’ from Australia by 2030

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official said Friday that she hopes her country will receive hydrogen made with renewable energy from Australia by 2030. The two countries have stepped up plans for cooperation on clean energy as Germany tries to find replacements for Russian gas supplies while pursuing an ambitious policy of reducing its […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

French, Dutch ministers visit NATO battlegroup in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The foreign ministers of France and the Netherlands paid an official visit on Friday to a military base in Romania where both nations station troops as a part of a NATO battlegroup that was bolstered in the wake of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Catherine Colonna of France and Wopke Hoekstra […]
1 day ago
The USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207) is seen on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 in San Diego, as she is christen...
Associated Press

SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK: Warren is 5th justice with Navy ship

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren’s name is on the U.S. Navy’s newest fuel ship. Justice Elena Kagan smashed a champagne bottle against its hull in a shipyard ceremony in San Diego last weekend. Two other justices soon will join Warren, who in 1954 wrote the Brown v. Board of Education […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Hungary’s Orban: Ukraine’s backers have ‘drifted’ into war

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Western countries that are providing weapons and money to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia have already “drifted” into becoming active participants in the conflict, Hungary’s prime minister said on Friday. In an interview with Hungarian state radio, Viktor Orban said Germany’s Wednesday decision to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
N. Korea fires ballistic missiles after US-S. Korea drills