The tests raised tensions on the Korean peninsula yet again.
On Wednesday (Nov. 2), North Korea fired out a record-breaking barrage of 23 short-range ballistic missiles, prompting a retaliation from its southern neighbour.
According to NBC News(opens in new tab), which cited South Korean military officials, the barrage started on Wednesday early North Korean time (Tuesday evening U.S. EDT) with the firing of four missiles from a northern province westward toward the Yellow Sea. A short while later, Wonsan, a city on the country's east coast, saw the launch of three additional missiles by North Korea.
One of those three made landfall south of the buffer zone along the sea border between North and South Korea, which hasn't happened since the Korean peninsula was split in half in 1948, according to NBC News.
This was seen as a severe provocation by South Korea, which did not take it lying down.
South Korean fighter jets, the F-15K and KF-16, "launched three precision-guided air-to-surface missiles at a target on the north side of the buffer zone of the maritime border, at a distance equal to that of the North Korean missile,” according to NBC News.
North Korea eventually fired roughly two dozen missiles into the sky throughout the course of the day, breaking all previous records as the barrage continued. None resulted in any confirmed fatalities or significant infrastructure damage.
The launches continued a busy year of saber-rattling for North Korea, a nuclear-armed nation whose autocratic leader, Kim Jong-un, has a history of making florid threats against the United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan.
North Korea has now launched more than 50 missiles in 2022, NBC News noted. Not all of them have been short-range vehicles, either. In March, for example, the nation tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), sending the vehicle on a 71-minute flight that reached a peak altitude of about 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) and ended with a splashdown in Japanese waters.
A series of military drills between the United States and South Korea that were previously scheduled may have prompted Wednesday's launches, at least in part. According to CNN, the extensive joint training exercises known as "Vigilant Storm" started on Monday, October 31. (opens in new tab).
On Wednesday, North Korea also grabbed headlines for a different reason: The United States was accused by the White House of surreptitiously supplying Russia with artillery ammunition for use in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. authorities believe that North Korea is "trying to make it appear as though they are being shipped to countries in the Middle East or North Africa." John Kirby, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said as much on Wednesday (opens in new tab).
Edited by: Satyavrat Singh