Experts say North Korea has more missile tests planned and important anniversary circled on calendar

North Korea launched suspected short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Monday, according to South Korean officials. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons were launched near Pyongyang and flew approximately 185 miles before falling in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The launches came amid speculation that North Korea could soon launch a banned satellite into orbit, potentially on the April 25 founding anniversary of what became the North’s military.The ranges of Monday’s missiles suggest the weapons could likely target sites in South Korea, prompting stern words from Seoul. There were no immediate reports of damage.The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly condemned the launches, saying they were a “clear provocation” that threatens peace on the Korean Peninsula. The office said it maintains readiness to “overwhelmingly” retaliate against North Korean provocations.SOUTH KOREA’S PRIME MINISTER AND TOP PRESIDENTIAL OFFICIALS RESIGN EN MASSENeighboring Japan also confirmed the launch of “at least one ballistic missile.”Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters that North Korea launched at least one ballistic missile that flew 155 miles at a maximum altitude of about 30 miles. He also said the missile tests threaten the peace and security of the region and the international community.North Korea in recent months has continued to accelerate its weapons testing to expand its arsenal and military capabilities.The launch on Monday completed its recent trifecta of missile tests, including long-range, medium-range and short-range flights.On Saturday, North Korea said that it tested a “super-large” cruise missile warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile last week. In early April, North Korea also test-launched what it called a solid-fuel intermediate-range missile with hypersonic warhead capabilities, a weapon that experts predicted could hit targets in the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and beyond.North Korea has test-fired nuclear-capable missiles designed to strike sites in South Korea, Japan and the mainland U.S. in past years as it pursues the development of nuclear weapons.Some experts, including the South’s military, say North Korea could launch its second spy satellite on the April 25 founding anniversary of a predecessor of the North’s military.In response to North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats, the United States and South Korea have been strengthening their bilateral military drills and trilateral exercises with Japan.