As South Korea and the United States were about to begin their annual military exercises in the area, North Korea protested the drills, once again, by firing two missiles into the sea on Monday.
According to Reuters, the two missiles were fired from a military base on the western coast of North Korea near Nampo City. The missiles reportedly traveled about 305 miles to the east, landing in the Sea of Japan.
The missiles were fired hours before the joint U.S. and South Korean military drills, known as Foal Eagle and Key Reserve according to CNN, were set to begin. North Korea has always been angered by the drills, saying they are nothing but a “smokescreen” used by the U.S. and South Korea so the two countries can invade their country.
North Korea’s state-run news outlet, KCNA, said, “The situation on the Korean peninsula is again inching close to the brink of a war.” They also noted how the North Korean military will not remain “passive” forever.
However, as many people know, this is not the first time North Korea has fired missiles in protest to the U.S. and South Korean military exercises.
The 2013 drills, in particular, led to the North Korean government threatening nuclear strikes over the drills, according to the BBC. The drills went on as planned and no retaliatory strikes were ever carried out by North Korea.
Kim Min-seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson, said at a briefing Monday, “North Korea in the past did fire (projectiles) in a very similar manner… On several occasions, they fired (projectiles) from the west coast to sea off east of the Korean Peninsula.” Kim also said the drills were simply a warning against any “reckless” or “provocative” act the North Korean military may carry out.
KCNA however, said these drills are acts of “aggression” and they will be met with “merciless strikes.”
The South Korean Defense Ministry believes the missiles were either Scud-C or Scud-D missiles.