North Korea launches ballistic missiles as Blinken visits Seoul

Officials said North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles into its eastern waters as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepared to convene a pro-democracy summit in neighboring South Korea.

“North Korea launched an unspecified ballistic missile into the East Sea,” the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Monday, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of ​​Japan.

The Japanese Coast Guard confirmed the launch and said the objects appeared to have fallen.

The launch came days after the United States and South Korea concluded an 11-day joint military exercise known as “Freedom Shield.”

North Korea has long condemned joint U.S.-South Korean military drills, calling them rehearsals for an invasion.

Pyongyang warned earlier this month that Seoul and Washington would pay a “high price” for this year’s “Freedom Shield” exercises, which will involve twice as many troops as last year.

About 27,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, where the exercises are held.

North Korea’s test on Monday was the latest in a series of weapons demonstrations this year, including a January 14 launch of a missile equipped with a steerable hypersonic warhead.

Shortly after the missile launch, Blinken and South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol took the stage at the opening ceremony of this year’s democracy summit hosted by South Korea.

Both Blinken and Yoon talked about how technology can be used to encourage democracy but can also be used to undermine it.

Blinken’s comments came after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that could ban the popular social media app TikTok, owned by Chinese developer ByteDance.

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The democracy summit, launched by US President Joe Biden, has drawn criticism in recent years for its selective invitation list, with countries such as Thailand and Turkey reportedly excluded.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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