TOKYO — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un flexed his military muscles again Monday, as his country fired more than 100 rockets and artillery shells into the sea near the border with South Korea, just a day after firing two ballistic missiles over the peninsula.
Kim has steadily been ratcheting up tensions with his neighbors since he took over from his father, Kim Jong Il, 2 1/2 years ago, leading to perceptions in Washington that he is erratic and weak.
While his father tended to keep his powder dry for times when he really needed to lodge a protest, the younger Kim has presided over an unusually large number of missile and artillery tests this year alone, according to South Korean officials.
On Monday, North Korea fired about 100 artillery shells into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, from a launch site on its east coast, just a few hundred yards from the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.
Some traveled as far as 30 miles and landed within 1 mile of the Northern Limit Line, the countries' de facto maritime border, but did not cross over, said Um Hyo-sik, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The shelling appeared to be part of a military drill, he said.