SEOUL (Dispatches) -North Korea fired three missiles on Wednesday, including one thought to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile, after Joe Biden, the president of the United States, left the region after a five-day tour during which he pledged to defend Seoul and Tokyo in the face of Pyongyang’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal.
All three missiles were fired toward waters off North Korea’s eastern coast one after another between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the office of Japan’s Prime Minister also said, “The Ministry of Defense has reported that a possible ballistic missile has been launched from North Korea.”
The latest test marks the 16th time that North Korea has fired its missiles this year, including what the U.S. says was a failed intercontinental ballistic missile test on May 4 that exploded shortly after launch.
During the visit, Biden indicated that he would be willing to take part in “sincere” and “serious” denuclearization talks with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.
“It would depend on whether he was sincere and whether it was serious,” Biden told reporters in Seoul on Saturday when asked under what conditions he would be willing to meet with the North Korean leader.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, held three rare meetings with Kim during his tenure from 2016 to 2020 to accomplish North Korea’s complete denuclearization. The attempt failed despite Pyongyang’s positive efforts.
Last month, Kim said he would “strengthen and develop” his country’s nuclear forces at the “highest possible” speed.