North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile launch in this image released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Oct. 10, 2022.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile launch in this image released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Oct. 10, 2022. (KCNA)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — North Korea on Sunday fired a pair of medium-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, South Korean military officials said.

The missiles were launched from Dongchang-ri, northwest of Pyongyang, at 11:13 a.m. and 12:05 p.m., the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a message to reporters. They were fired at a high angle and flew around 310 miles.

South Korea’s military is “maintaining a full readiness posture” and is closely cooperating with the United States in light of the launch, the Joint Chiefs said.

Hours later, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a news release that the launch did not "pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies.”

The recent launch marks the first such test by North Korea in a month. Pyongyang last fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Nov. 18, which splashed down in the sea less than 150 miles from Japanese territory.

That missile, according to South Korea’s military, was a Hwasong-17, which can theoretically carry multiple warheads and reach the U.S., according to North Korea monitoring group 38 North.

The North has fired roughly 70 missiles in 34 rounds of testing so far this year, a record. The Korean Central News Agency, a state-run media outlet, claimed in a report Friday that the regime had successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket motor for a “new type” of weapon system.

The communist regime has responded to restarted military drills between the U.S. and South Korea with hundreds of artillery fires and by flying aerial sorties.

One day after the allies conducted live-fire artillery and rocket launch system exercises starting Dec. 5, North Korea fired about 80 artillery rounds into the sea, the South’s military said.

Washington and Seoul resumed their large-scale military exercises after a five-year pause, including their five-day Vigilant Storm training that included roughly 240 aircraft. The training follows South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s pledge to reinforce and expand his country’s alliance with the U.S. and respond firmly to the North’s provocations.

The latest ballistic missile launches come four days after the establishment of U.S. Space Forces Korea at Osan Air Base. The new subordinate command is the Space Force’s first in the Far East and will coordinate space operations and assist with missile warnings, according U.S. Forces Korea.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield in a Nov. 21 statement described North Korea’s missile tests as a display of “utter disregard for the safety and security of the region” and called for a unified response.

“For too long, [North Korea] has acted with impunity,” she said. “It has conducted escalatory and destabilizing ballistic missile launches without fear of a response or reprisal from this Council.” Twitter: @choibboy

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now