The Japanese Ministry of Defense has reported new ballistic missile launches by North Korea. According to the Japanese government, two projectiles fell in the Sea of Japan, although within North Korea's exclusive economic zone.
The North Korean missile launch comes just days after news of the arrival of a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine in the South Korean port of Busan. The USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) announced its docking at a military port late the previous week. It is a ballistic missile submarine.
According to the U.S. command in South Korea, the presence of the USS Kentucky seeks to reinforce the U.S. deterrent commitment in the region. The USS Kentucky also arrives in time for the latest major military exercises being conducted jointly by South Korea, the United States and Japan in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch of the two latest ballistic missiles appears to be the Kim Jong-un regime's response to the growing U.S. presence in the Pacific. The North Korean government has always declared itself opposed to the U.S. presence in South Korea and in the waters surrounding the peninsula.
USS Kentucky is the second U.S. submarine to arrive in Korea in less than a week. USS Annapolis was the first U.S. military submarine to dock in a South Korean port since 1980. It arrived in the region a few days ahead of the USS Kentucky, in a sign of increased military capabilities in the region. The USS Annapolis, also nuclear-powered though for a different purpose than the USS Kentucky, docked at the South Korean island of Jeju to load supplies and depart on an unspecified mission.