IP - North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) off its east coast on Friday as South Korean forces were wrapping up nearly two weeks of exercises to deter their northern neighbor.

Iran PressAsia: The missile launches, at a time of growing fears that North Korea is preparing its first nuclear test since 2017, were the latest in a year in which North Korea has tested a record number of missiles, whether short-range missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or others, Reuters reported on Friday.

The SRBMs were fired from the Tongcheon area in the North's Gangwon province, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, four days after the neighbors exchanged warning shots off the west coast of the divided peninsula.

The launches did not threaten the United States or its allies, the US military's Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.

However, it added that they "highlight the destabilizing impact" of North Korea's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The Pentagon said North Korea launched two ballistic missiles from the central part of the country.

The nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States, and Japan spoke by telephone and condemned the launches as a provocation and violation of UN Security Council resolutions, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

On Friday, South Korean troops were set to finish the 12-day Hoguk 22 field exercises, including some US troops' drills.

About 240 South Korean and US warplanes are due to begin the Vigilant Storm drills on Monday, flying 1,600 sorties in the most significant number of missions ever staged for such exercises, the US Air Force said.


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