North Korea carried out another launch of missiles on Monday — a salvo of five short-range projectiles that brings its total number of shots from the past month to 15. Meanwhile, South Korea is touting the formation of a rapid-response force, trained with the assistance of the United States, that could carry out operations anywhere on the Korean peninsula within 24 hours of a threat emerging.
CNN reports that North Korea fired its missiles from “an area south of Hamhung city, South Hamgyong province, on the country’s east coast, between 3:19 and 4:05 p.m. South Korean time (2:19 to 3:05 a.m. ET) Monday, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, or JCS.”
“The projectiles flew about 200 kilometers (124 miles) toward the sea to the east of the Korean Peninsula,” added the JCS.
This is smaller than the fireworks display North Korea put on during last year’s annual U.S.-South Korean military drills, which CNN recalls added up to a total of 90 ballistic missiles and rockets. North Korea habitually describes these drills as an insult, a provocation to war, a dress rehearsal for the invasion of North Korea, and an actual invasion of North Korea disguised as a military drill.
The temperature of the rhetoric is a bit hotter this year, however, with Pyongyang threatening to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the American and South Korean forces. Heavier sanctions have been imposed against the isolated Communist state due to its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, without Russia and China offering the usual protection against sanctions to Pyongyang.