Pyongyang fired another two ballistic missiles from the Tongchon area towards the Sea of Japan during the afternoon hours of October 28.
Last week both sides exchanged warning shots along their disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea. During the early hours of October 24, the South Korean Navy reportedly fired upon a North Korean merchant vessel that they said had ignored multiple warnings and violated the sea boundary between the two countries by crossing the Northern Limit Line (NLL). In response, according to their state media, the North’s Korean People’s Army announced that its coastal defences had fired 10 artillery rounds at a South Korean warship that they claim had “invaded” the Military Demarcation Line.
This year, North Korea has stepped up its ballistic weapons testing firing programme to an unprecedented scale, with missiles falling into the Sea of Japan at frequent intervals and, both Seoul and Washington, fear that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is on the verge of conducting what would be his country’s seventh nuclear test. In the past the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has expressed its grave concern over such operations, which pose a serious threat to maritime safety as mariners are not being notified in advance through the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service.
Pyongyang said that their latest tests were in retaliation to the large-scale naval exercises which are currently taking place between South Korean and U.S. forces in the Yellow Sea, which they have condemned as a “rehearsal for invasion”. According to media reports, the drills involve 20 warships, including destroyers and frigates equipped with the Aegis combat information and control systems, helicopters, F-16 and F-15K fighter jets, as well as a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft.
Considering the combined air force drills, slated to be held from October 31 to November 4, there remains a high likelihood of further provocations by the North over the coming days.
Recent incidents and missile launches
|Date||Approximate time (LT)||Number of missiles||Firer||Notes|
|Oct 28||11:59 and 12:18||2||North Korea||Fired toward the East Sea|
|Oct 24||(10 artillery rounds)||North Korea||Fired at South Korean warship|
|Oct 24||Morning||Warning shots||South Korea||Fired at a North Korean merchant vessel|
|Oct 19||Afternoon hours||(100 artillery shells)||North Korea||The shells landed in the western buffer zone.|
|Oct 18||During late hours||(250 artillery rounds)||North Korea||Into the East and West Sea buffer zones|
|Oct 14||02:00||1||North Korea|
|Oct 12||2||North Korea||Cruise missiles|
|Oct 8-9||Overnight||2||North Korea|
|Oct 6||Early Morning||2||North Korea|
|Oct 4||07:30||1||North Korea||Flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean|
|Oct 1||06:30||2||North Korea|
|Sep 29||12:00||2||North Korea|
|Sep 28||18:00||2||North Korea|
|Sep 25||07:00||1||North Korea|
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