North Korea fires three ballistic missiles just days after flying drones south, Seoul says

North Korea could soon conduct a nuclear test

US officials say North Korea can conduct nuclear tests “at any time.”


North Korea fired three ballistic missiles at the north’s eastern waters on Saturday morning, the South Korean military said.

It is North Korea’s first missile launch in eight daysand comes five days after South Korea blamed Pyongyang to fly five drones in South Korea’s airspace for the first time since 2017.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement they spotted three short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea into the Baltic Sea around 8 a.m. local time on Saturday.

North Korea test shot more than 70 ballistic and cruise missiles this year. Some experts say North Korea is trying to modernize its arsenal and increase its leverage in future deals with the United States.

South Korean warplanes and helicopters failed to shoot down any of the North Korean drones sighted north of the border before they flew home or disappeared from South Korean radar. One of them went as far north as Seoul. That caused safety fears among many people in the south, for which the military issued a public apology on Tuesday.

The launch comes as North Korea is under a major ruling party meeting in Pyongyang to review past policies and new policy targets for 2023. Some observers say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would reaffirm his vows to expand its nuclear arsenal and introduce sophisticated weaponry in the name of dealing with what he calls US hostility.

There were concerns North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test in five years. US and South Korean officials in late October said CBS News that Pyongyang is preparing to test a nuclear weapon soon, which would be the first nuclear test since 2017. North Korea fires three ballistic missiles just days after flying drones south, Seoul says

Rick Schindler

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