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North Korea launches missiles after Harris departs South Korea

northkorea missile 092922 AP Ahn Young joon

North Korea on Thursday fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, just hours after Vice President Harris departed South Korea for the United States. 

The launch, the third one this week, comes as North Korea is suspected to be prepping for its seventh nuclear test. 

“South Korean military detected two short-range ballistic missiles fired from Sunchon, South Pyongan province, toward the east coast between 8:48 p.m. and 8:57 p.m.,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, as Reuters reported. 

“Amid strengthened surveillance and vigilance, our military maintains full preparedness while working closely with the U.S.” 

North Korea a day prior had fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea before Harris arrived in South Korea, and on Sunday test-fired one surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile. 

Harris was in South Korea as the last stop on her four-day trip to Asia, a visit where she stressed Washington’s ironclad commitment to Seoul while being strongly critical of the isolated Pyongyang. 

“It is clearly a provocation, and it is meant we believe to destabilize the region and we’re taking it seriously, and everyone should,” Harris said when asked about North Korea’s nuclear threats. 

The round of missile launches come as the U.S., South Korea and other allies are concerned North Korea could conduct a nuclear test as soon as October or November. 

If held, the test would be the seventh one since 2006 and the first since 2017.  

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