North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles Thursday (May 9) at 4:30 pm local time, according to South Korean military sources quoted by Fox News.
Ten minutes later, the U.S. appeared to respond with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test of its own, the news outlet reported, a Minuteman III ICBM – the second missile launch this month and the fourth this year.
The missile test was the second such move in less than a week, and came from the Sino-ri missile base, located around 130 miles north of the border between North and South Korea. It also follows a test fire by North Korea of a new tactical guided weapon last month.
The two short-range ballistic missiles flew 420 kilometers (260 miles) and 270 kilometers (167 miles) respectively, according to a statement by the South Korean joint chiefs of staff.
Linda Frost, Deputy of Media Operations of the Air Force Global Strike Command told Fox News the timing of the U.S. and North Korean tests were not related, noting “launch calendars are built three to five years in advance.”
The missile fire came five days after a test-fire by Pyongyang of a barrage of short-range projectiles from the east coast.
The fact that North Korea is banned by the United Nations from testing ballistic missiles, and that such a test could result in more sanctions is a point that could further escalate tensions between Pyongyang and Washington in a relationship that already seems to be fraying, after the news that the U.S. has seized a North Korean cargo vessel over Pyongyang’s deliberate attempt to violate sanctions with exports of coal abroad.