North Korea Fires Short-Range Missile

Launch comes as the U.S. and South Korea prepare to hold military drills

SEOUL—North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, as the U.S. and South Korea prepare to hold large-scale military exercises.

North Korea launched the missile around 6:20 p.m. local time from the western port city of Nampo toward the Yellow Sea, Seoul’s military said. The military didn’t reveal the altitude and distance traveled by the missile.

This week, the U.S. and South Korea deployed strategic bombers and jet fighters in the skies over the Korean Peninsula. The flights were part of preliminary drills ahead of larger exercises that begin Monday. The involvement of U.S. strategic bombers is meant to deter and respond to North Korea’s heightening nuclear and missile threat, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.

North Korea warned in February that the U.S. and South Korea would face “unprecedentedly persistent and strong counteractions” if they press ahead with joint military exercises. Pyongyang has blamed the exercises for raising tensions in the region, and says its missile launches are defensive measures.

On Sunday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. and South Korea of plotting to eliminate the Kim regime with nuclear weapons. The joint exercises involving nuclear submarines and strategic bombers are of a “clear aggressive nature,” Pyongyang’s state media said.

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North Korea, China, US