North Korea says missile tests self-defence against U.S. military threats

A North Korean flag flutters at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, South Korea, July 19, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool/File Photo

SEOUL, Oct 8 (Reuters) - North Korea said on Saturday its missile tests are for self-defence against direct U.S. military threats and they have not harmed the safety of neighbouring countries and regions.

North Korea carried out six missile launches in 12 days as of this week, including launching an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Tuesday.

"Our missile tests are a normal, planned self-defence measure to protect our country's security and regional peace from direct U.S. military threats," said state media KCNA, citing an aviation administration spokesperson.

The missile tests "did not pose any threat or harm to the safety of civil aviation as well as the safety of neighbouring countries and regions, by a full consideration of civil aviation safety in advance."

The message was in response to the International Civil Aviation Organization Council condemning North Korea's missile launches for posing a serious safety risk to international civil aviation, KCNA said.

North Korea's defence ministry was "taking a stern look at the development of the current situation, which is very worrisome," regarding U.S.-South Korean drills involving the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, KCNA said in a separate statement.

The United States and South Korea held joint maritime exercises on Friday, a day after Seoul scrambled fighter jets in reaction to an apparent North Korean bombing drill.

The United States also announced new sanctions on Friday in response to North Korea's latest missile launches.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Leslie Adler, Chris Reese and David Gregorio

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