North Korea has test-fired another ballistic missile, marking the seventh missile event this month. South Korea confirmed the launch, which was seen as a response to the ongoing joint military exercises conducted by the United States and South Korea.
The latest launch took place on Monday and comes just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a long-range artillery drill. The country has been increasing its military demonstrations in recent weeks, with each event being seen as a tit-for-tat response to the joint military exercises.
The missiles fired by North Korea are believed to be short-range projectiles that can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. These tests have raised concerns among neighboring countries about North Korea's advancing weapons program.
In response to these events, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called them "a serious threat" and urged North Korea not to engage in provocations. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington remained committed to diplomatic efforts towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula but warned that "we will respond appropriately if provoked."
South Korean officials also expressed concern over the continuous missile launches from their northern neighbor, with Defense Minister Suh Wook warning that such actions could lead to increased tensions on the peninsula.
These latest developments come amid stalled talks between North Korea and the United States over denuclearization efforts. Pyongyang has demanded relief from international sanctions as part of any deal while Washington insists on complete denuclearization first.
As tensions continue to rise in East Asia, it remains unclear what steps will be taken next by both sides involved in this ongoing conflict.