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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

WATCH: North Korea firing 8 ballistic missiles a ‘serious provocation’

The US said the launch doesn't pose a threat, but 'highlights the destabilising impact of North Korea's illicit weapons program'.

North Korea on Sunday launched eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations, according to South Korea’s military.

This follows a day after South Korea and the United States completed their first joint drills involving a US aircraft carrier in more than four years.

On Saturday, the two nations wrapped up three-day exercises involving the USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-tonne nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

North Korea’s missile test on Sunday

The barrage of short-range ballistic missiles was likely a new single-day record as far as North Korea’s ballistic launches go.

Eight missiles were fired in quick succession over a 35-minute period from at least four different locations, as per South Korea’s military intelligence.

These locations include the western and eastern coastal areas, as well as two inland areas to the north of and near the capital, Pyongyang.

Known launch details

The missiles – likely shot in pairs from each location – travelled between 110 and 670 kilometres at altitudes reaching up to 90 kilometres.

Reports point to North Korea using transporter erector launchers (TELs), such as the WS51200 pictured below.

A TEL is a vehicle with an integrated tractor unit to carry and launch multiple missiles.

north korea ballistic missile vehicle
A WS51200 used during the North Korean Victory Day in 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Stefan Krasowski

North Korea’s nuclear tests

Several international officials and analysts – as well as Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff – believe North Korea may be preparing to carry out a fresh nuclear test.

As previously reported by The Citizen, Pyongyang has doubled down on upgrading its weapons programme despite widespread criticism and economic sanctions.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi described the launches as unusual and “absolutely unacceptable”.

ALSO READ: North Korea has ‘likely more in store’ after missile test – US

US Armed Forces respond

The US Indo-Pacific Command said it was aware of the ballistic missile launches, “and are consulting closely with allies and partners”.

“While we have assessed this event doesn’t pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or our allies, these missile launches highlight the destabilising impact of North Korea’s illicit weapons program.

“The US commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad”.

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