Wed, December 01, 2021

international

N. Korea fires 2 unidentified projectiles into East Sea: JCS


North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Thursday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, amid reports they could be ballistic missiles banned under UN Security Council resolutions.

The projectiles were fired from the North's eastern South Hamgyong Province earlier in the morning, according to the military. Other details, including what type of projectile was launched, were not immediately available.

"Further information is under analysis by South Korea-US intelligence authorities," the JCS said in a statement. "Our military is keeping a staunch readiness posture under a close South Korea-US coordination with heightened monitoring and security."

Japanese and US media reported that the latest projectiles appear to be ballistic missiles.

North Korea last fired a ballistic missile in March 2020.

Thursday's launches mark a gradual ratcheting up of tensions by the North as they came four days after the country fired two cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea.

The United States brushed off the cruise missile launches as part of "normal testing" not banned under UN sanctions resolutions, with President Joe Biden saying, "Nothing much has changed."

The US reaction to the latest launches was not immediately available.

While cruise missiles are not banned under UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, ballistic missiles are subject to the international sanctions. Pyongyang has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing since late 2017.

Ballistic missiles have a much longer range than cruise missiles of the same size and move quickly along their flight path. Ballistic missiles are also deemed more threatening, as they are designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

The latest launch also came as the Biden administration was completing its North Korea policy review.

North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said last week any contact and dialogue with the US can be possible only when Washington rolls back its "hostile policy" toward it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held three meetings with former US President Donald Trump, but denuclearization talks remain stalled since the collapse of their Hanoi summit in February 2019.

The US is scheduled to hold a security meeting with South Korea and Japan next week to discuss how to deal with issues involving North Korea. (Yonhap)

Published : March 25, 2021

By : The Korea Herald/ANN