All national dailies reported on North Korea’s firing of two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles were launched from a site near its west coast at 8:47 p.m. and 8:53 p.m. and flew about 300 km with a maximum altitude of 50 km before splashing down outside Japan’s EEZ in the Sea of Japan. The papers pointed that Pyongyang launched the missiles during Vice President Harris’s visit to South Korea, which included a trip to the DMZ, and the ongoing U.S.-ROK joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan.
Defense Minister Hamada told reporters on Thursday that North Korea’s escalation of provocations, including the series of missile launches, is absolutely intolerable because it threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, adding that Japan lodged a protest with Pyongyang via the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. Hamada also said that this was the first time for Pyongyang to launch ballistic missiles two days in a row.