Seoul: North Korea fired two unidentified short-range projectiles into the East Sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the first such launches since it warned of “a new strategic weapon” earlier this year.
The projectiles were fired from areas near its eastern coastal city of Wonsan towards the northeast at 12.37 p.m., Yonhap News Agency quoted the JCS as saying. It added that both flew around 240 km, reaching a maximum altitude of around 35 km.
“North Korea is believed to be continuing its joint strike drill,” the JCS said, citing the military drill that the North staged on February 28.
“South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analyzing additional features… Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” the JCS said.
It is the first such projectile fire by the communist country since November 28, 2019 when it launched two missiles from what was presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher, the Yonhap News Agency said in the report.
Last year, the regime test-launched missiles 13 times amid the stalled denuclearization talks with the US.
The tested weapons include new types of short-range ballistic missiles and a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
In its New Year’s message, Pyongyang warned it would show off a “new strategic weapon” in the near future.
Experts said it may mean an advanced version of its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or an SLBM.
The firing also came days after the first anniversary of the second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi.
Kim inspected artillery strike drill: N Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a long-range artillery firing drill, state media said.
“As he ordered the subunits to start the fire, the men of long-range artillery pieces on the front opened fire all at once,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.
“He expressed great satisfaction with the fact that the artillery men are prepared to make rapid reaction to any circumstances and perfectly carry out their firepower combat duties.”