N.Korea's latest ballistic missile launches could raise tensions

South Korea's military says North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan on Sunday morning. It is feared that the move could raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launches occurred shortly after 9 a.m. for roughly 30 minutes. They said the missiles were fired from four sites, including Sunan on Pyongyang's outskirts and Kaechon in South Phyongan Province.

South Korean media say this is the first time North Korea has fired eight ballistic missiles in such a short space of time. It is believed that Pyongyang tried to show it can carry out missile strikes from multiple locations and evade anti-missile systems.

At their summit last month, the leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to start talks on expanding the size of joint military exercises.

The two countries conducted three days of joint military drills through Saturday, in international waters southeast of Japan's Okinawa Prefecture. This is the first time since November 2017 that Seoul and Washington have held joint exercises involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

South Korean analysts say the latest launches by North Korea demonstrate its hardline stance toward South Korean and US attempts to increase their deterrence.

After the launches by the North, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the continued strengthening of deterrence and defensive posture.

North Korea is apparently ratcheting up its nuclear and missile development. Concerns are also growing that the country may conduct its seventh nuclear test in the near future.