North, South Korea test missiles amid tensions

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North and South Korea tested missiles on Wednesday amid rising tensions in the region.

North Korea sent two missiles off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula at 12:38 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. local time, CNN reported, citing Japan’s Coast Guard.

Less than three hours later, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it fired a missile from a submerged 3,700-ton submarine. The missile hit its target accurately, CNN reported.

In a statement, South Korea’s presidential office said the weapon was meant to help deter external threats, according to The Associated Press. The news service noted that this was a reference to North Korea, which had fired the two missiles earlier.

Reports of the missiles come days after North Korea successfully fired its new, long-range missiles last weekend.

The Korean Central News Agency reported at the time that the missiles struck their target about 930 miles away after traveling in the air for 7,580 seconds.  

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that it was aware of North Korea’s missile launch on Wednesday, adding that it is “consulting closely with our allies and partners.”

“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” the command said, referring to North Korea as its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad,” it continued.

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