SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has test-fired its first ballistic missiles since President Joe Biden took office as it expands its military capabilities and increases pressure on Washington while nuclear negotiations remain stalled.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says Thursday's launches threaten peace and safety in Japan and the region and that Tokyo will closely coordinate with Washington and Seoul on the North’s testing activities.
A senior U.S. official matched the information from South Korea’s military, saying that initial assessments suggest the North fired two short-range ballistic missiles.
North Korea has a history of testing new U.S. administrations with missile launches aimed at forcing the Americans back to negotiations, which fell apart in 2019.
So far, North Korea’s recent tests have been relatively small compared to past launches, indicating Washington has a window of engagement before the country run by Kim Jong-un pursues bigger provocations.
Pyongyang wants the U.S. to lift major economic sanctions while tolerating it as a nuclear weapons state.
Because the Biden administration is unlikely to do that anytime soon, some experts say North Korea may move toward bigger provocations in coming months, like a long-range missile test or detonating a nuclear device.