North Korean missile (archive)
North Korean missile (archive)KCNA via REUTERS

North Korea fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters Monday morning (local time), days after the end of the South Korean-US military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal, The Associated Press reported.

The launches were North Korea's first known missile testing activities in about a month. Outside experts earlier predicted North Korea would continue its run of missile tests and intensify its warlike rhetoric ahead of the US presidential election in November to boost its leverage in future diplomacy.

North Korea, which has tested dozens of missiles in the last year including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, has recently upped the rhetoric.

In January, the country launched a hypersonic missile. In response, South Korea, the United States and Japan carried out joint naval drills in waters off southern Jeju Island.

North Korea then announced it had tested an "underwater nuclear weapon system" in response to the joint naval exercises.

Several weeks later, North Korea tested its new strategic cruise missile, claiming the test-firing had no impact on the security of neighboring countries.

South Korea recently expressed concerns after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participated in a military exercise that included conquering South Korean military outposts.

North Korea did not officially acknowledge that the exercise involved attacking South Korea, but footage of the event left no room for doubt as to the exercise's goal.

Among the scenarios practiced was an attack on the border and an air assault to land troops beyond the fortifications and checkpoints between North and South Korea.