Highlights

  • South Korea says North Korea flew 12 warplanes near the border
  • South Korea responded by scrambling 30 warplanes
  • Both Korea have been firing missiles

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North Korea flies warplanes near South Korea after missile launches

South Korea's military said eight North Korean fighter jets and four bombers flew in formation. It added that South Korea responded by scrambling 30 warplanes.

South Korea says North Korea flew 12 warplanes near their mutual border on Thursday, prompting South Korea to launch 30 military planes in response.

South Korea's military says eight North Korean fighter jets and four bombers flew in formation. It says the North Korean planes were believed to have conducted air-to-surface firing drills.

It says South Korea responded by scrambling 30 warplanes.

Earlier, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters, and South Korea conducted naval drills with the United States and Japan off the Korean Peninsula's east coast in response.

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters on Thursday after the United States redeployed an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula in response to Pyongyang's previous launch of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan.

The latest missile launches suggest North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is determined to continue with weapons tests aimed at boosting his nuclear arsenal in defiance of international sanctions.

Many experts say Kim's goal is to eventually win US recognition as a legitimate nuclear state and the lifting of those sanctions, though the US and its allies have shown no sign of allowing that to happen.

The latest missiles were launched 22 minutes apart from the North's capital region and landed between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The first missile flew 350 kilometres and reached a maximum altitude of 80 kilometres and the second flew 800 kilometres on an apogee of 60 kilometres.

The flight details were similar to Japanese assessments announced by Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, who confirmed that the missiles didn't reach Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Also watch: South Korea's ballistic missile blows up after North Korean missile success

He added that the second missile was possibly launched on an “irregular” trajectory. It is a term that has been used to describe the flight characteristics of a North Korean weapon modelled after Russia's Iskander missile, which travels at low altitudes and is designed to be maneuverable in flight to improve its chances of evading missile defenses.

US, South Korean and Japanese destroyers launched joint drills later on Thursday off the Korean Peninsula's east coast to horn their abilities to search, track and intercept North Korean ballistic missiles, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The US destroyer is part of the strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which returned to the waters in what South Korea's military called an attempt to demonstrate the allies' “firm will” to counter North's continued provocations and threats.

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