N. Korea says turning Pacific into 'firing range' depends on US actions

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's powerful sister on Monday warned of "corresponding counteraction" to US-South Korean joint military drills, state media said, after Pyongyang carried out two banned missile launches in two days.


"The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the US forces' action character," Kim Yo Jong said in statement carried by the official KCNA.

North Korea fired a salvo of two short-range ballistic missiles early Monday, Seoul's military said, its second launch in two days which came after the US and South Korea staged joint air drills.

"Our military detected two short-range ballistic missiles fired from Sukchon areas in South Pyongan province between 0700-0711 (2200-2211 GMT) this morning," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The office of Japan's prime minister also tweeted Monday morning that "North Korea has launched a suspected ballistic missile."

The Japanese Coastguard said soon after that the projectile "appears to have already fallen," without providing further details.

The United States and South Korea on Sunday staged joint air drills featuring a strategic bomber and stealth fighter jets in response to a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch a day earlier.

Japan said the ICBM had flown for 66 minutes and landed in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

North Korea later said the missile launched Saturday was a Hwasong-15 and was part of a "surprise" drill to demonstrate Pyongyang's capacity to carry out a "fatal nuclear counterattack".