North Korea warns Pacific could become ‘firing range’

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile off its east coast, South Korea’s military says, as the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un warns of turning the Pacific into a “firing range”, heightening tensions in the region.

Feb 20, 2023, updated Feb 20, 2023
Kim Yo Jong warned the Pacific could become North Korea's firing range.

Kim Yo Jong warned the Pacific could become North Korea's firing range.

Other details of the missile, including its flight range, were not immediately available.
Japan’s Coast Guard said North Korea launched three projectiles that could be ballistic missiles about 2200 GMT, all of which fell within minutes.

All three landed outside Japan’s EEZ, public broadcaster NHK said.

North Korean leader Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, issued a statement and warned against the increased presence of United States strategic assets on the Korean peninsula.

“We are carefully examining the influence it would exert on the security of our state,” she said in the statement.

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“The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the US forces’ action character.”

The launch comes just two days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea off Japan’s west coast, in what it called a “sudden launching drill”.

Monday’s missile launch is the North’s third major weapons test this year after Pyongyang threatened an “unprecedentedly persistent, strong” response as South Korea and the US geared up for their annual military exercises as part of efforts to fend off the growing nuclear and missile threat that the North poses.


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