Just three days ago, North Korea defied a UN ban and fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the sea. Now South Korea officials say Pyongyang launched five short-range projectiles Monday into the waters off the latter's east coast, reportedly as a reaction to US-South Korea military drills each spring, the AP reports. It isn't yet clear whether the projectiles were missiles, artillery, or rockets; Pyongyang called them missiles, but South Korea says they were most likely conventional shells, Al Jazeera reports. Either way, more warnings have now been issued: "North Korea should refrain from all provocative actions, including missile launches, which are in clear violation of UN resolutions," the US special envoy for North Korea said Monday.
North Korea has been ratcheting up the war rhetoric as of late, firing short-range missiles and artillery and noting both Seoul and Washington, DC, are squarely in its sights for preemptive nuclear strikes, per Reuters. CNN notes 15 projectiles have been launched on four separate occasions since early February. Meanwhile, even China is urging its ally to simmer down as the US and South Korea hold their largest drills ever, with 300,000 South Korean troops and at least 17,000 US soldiers. "We hope North Korea does not do anything to contravene UN Security Council resolutions," a Chinese Foreign Ministry rep said, per Reuters. "We also hope all sides can remain calm and exercise restraint and avoid doing anything to exacerbate confrontation." (North Korea sentenced a US student to 15 years of hard labor.)