North Korea fires missile barrage after failed satellite launch

North Korea fired a group of ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday, the South Korean military said, days after an attempted North Korean military spy satellite launch failed.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North fired 10 ballistic missiles from near Pyongyang to the east into the sea. The suspected missiles flew about 350 kilometers, it said, adding that the South has increased vigilance on military activity in the region.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months as the pace of both North Korea’s weapons testing and South Korea’s combined military exercises with the United States and Japan have intensified.

North Korea launched balloons filled with trash and manure toward the South beginning Tuesday in retaliation for South Korean activists sending anti-government propaganda leaflets to the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also warned of unspecified “overwhelming actions” against the South after it staged a military exercise with 20 fighter jets near the border just hours before North Korea attempted to launch the satellite.

The satellite exploded just after takeoff, making an embarrassing failure for the North’s developing space capabilities. The North successfully launched its first military spy satellite in November, but Monday’s failure posed a possible setback to Kim’s plans to launch three more military spy satellites in 2024.

“We will never tolerate any moves of the hostile forces to violate the inviolable sphere under the exercise of sovereignty nor step back from having access to the space reconnaissance capability which should be done surely no matter what others may say,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son Gyong said in a statement published on state media.

The Associated Press contributed.

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