STORY: Another day, another North Korean missile test.
This time, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff detected two short-range missiles fired into the sea off the Korean Peninsula on Thursday (October 6).
Pyongyang tried to reframe the test as a reaction against what it called “serious threats to stability on the peninsula”, from the US.
Its foreign ministry on Thursday accused Washington of ratcheting up tensions, by sending the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the region.
Following the North’s test, South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol pledged to beef up ties with the U.S. and Japan, to ensure his country’s security.
He said he would speak to his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, over the phone on Thursday.
Kishida told reporters Pyongyang’s latest launch - its sixth in nearly two weeks – cannot be tolerated.
Japan’s defence chief, Yasukazu Hamada, also condemned North Korea.
“These actions by North Korea are a threat to the peace and security of our country, region, and the international community and it's absolutely unacceptable.”
Tensions escalated after Pyongyang launched an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Tuesday.
In response to the North’s provocations, the U.S. held joint missile drills and fighter jet exercises with Japan and South Korea.
China and Russia blamed these displays of military force for provoking the North’s ballistic missile tests, at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, drawing fire from U.S. envoy Linda Greenfield-Thomas.
“Firstly, the United States and the ROK (Republic of Korea) carry out defensive military exercises responsibly and consistent with international law. Ballistic missile launches by the DPRK are unlawful, they are reckless, and they endanger neighbors in the region. And there's no equivalency between these two activities.”
China and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council, declined holding a public council meeting on North Korea.
The U.S. accused both of “enabling” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The US State Department says it’s still committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea, and called on Pyongyang to engage in dialogue.