North Korea launched three ballistic missiles toward the sea this morning, South Korea’s military said. It is the North’s first weapons firings in about two weeks as the country makes a disputed claim that its first domestic COVID-19 outbreak is weakening. The latest launches also came after the leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to consider expanded military exercises to deter North Korean nuclear threats during President Joe Biden’s visit to Seoul last weekend.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a

statement that all three missiles were fired toward waters off North Korea’s eastern coast one after another today between 6 am and 7 am local time. It said South Korea has subsequently boosted its surveillance posture and maintains a military readiness in close coordination with the United States. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol separately called a National Security Council meeting to discuss the North’s launches.

The launches were North Korea’s 17th round of missile firings this year. 

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