North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observes marksmanship training, March 6, 2024, in this image from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observes marksmanship training, March 6, 2024, in this image from the state-run Korean Central News Agency. (KCNA)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — North Korea fired several short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Monday afternoon, the South’s military told reporters soon after the launch.

The weapons went up at 3:01 p.m. and flew roughly 190 miles before splashing down into what South Korea calls the East Sea, according to a text message from the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

They did not specify how many missiles were launched.

The Joint Chiefs described the launches as a “clear provocation that seriously threatens peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.” South Korea, Japan and the United States are analyzing the flight details, they said.

The launches came two days after the state-run Korean News Agency said the North had tested a “super-large warhead” atop a cruise missile, along with a new anti-aircraft missile, the previous day in the Yellow Sea.

Seoul detected several cruise missiles and anti-aircraft missiles being fired from the North at around 3:30 p.m. Friday, South Korea’s Yonhap News reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile from the Pyongyang area on April 2. That solid-fueled weapon flew roughly 370 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan. A hypersonic glide vehicle mounted on the missile was unsuccessful in its final gliding phase, the South’s military said at the time.

Monday’s launches happened the same day the head of U.S. Space Command, Gen. Stephen Whiting met with the chairman of the South’s Joint Chiefs, Adm. Kim Myung-soo, in Seoul.

The military leaders discussed promoting joint space capabilities between their countries and North Korea’s reconnaissance satellite launches, according to a news release from the South’s Joint Chiefs.

North Korea may launch a new satellite as soon as mid-April, South Korean National Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said during a news conference April 8. The communist regime successfully launched a spy satellite in November after two failed attempts in May and August.

U.S. and South Korean forces are in the midst of their largest annual air exercise, which ends Friday. The two-week Korea Flying Training includes around 25 aircraft types from the two air forces, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command, according to an 7th Air Force news release.

Roughly 200 U.S. and South Korean special operations troops jumped out of U.S. C-17 Globemaster IIIs and U.S. and South Korean C-130 Hercules over Osan Air Base as part of Friday’s drills, the release said.

KCNA frequently describes the joint military exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.

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.

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