North Korea fired a third ballistic missile into the sea on the eve of Vice President Kamala Harris’ arrival in the South Korean capital Wednesday.
Wednesday’s missile is the latest show of force from Kim Jong Un’s regime, which fired two previous missiles into the waters off its eastern coast on Saturday and Sunday. Harris is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Thursday as the U.S. and South Korean militaries hold joint exercises in the region.
Prior to Saturday’s launch, North Korea had not fired a ballistic missile since June. The pattern echoes that of President Biden’s last trip to South Korea, which also saw the North firing a trio of missiles days before his arrival.
Harris will meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday, the final day of joint military exercises.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier first arrived in South Korea on Saturday to participate in the drills, sending a message both to North Korea and China with regard to its aggression toward Taiwan.
Harris arrived in Seoul following a trip to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier this week. She also attended the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated earlier this year.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff did not offer further details about Wednesday’s missile launch. The group had previously detailed the speed and distance traveled by Sunday’s missile.
The U.S. military released a statement condemning the North’s first launch on Saturday. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Kim Seung-kyum and the U.S. Forces Korea Commander Paul LaCamera had also been in contact regarding the launch, according to Reuters.
“We are aware of the ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the United States Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. “While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs. The U.S. commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad.”