North Korea has reportedly test-fired two projectiles that fell into the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported early on Monday. The type of missile is so far unknown.
The projectiles were reportedly fired from a missile launch site in North Korea’s eastern coastal town of Wonsan.
In a brief statement following the reported missile test, which is said to have taken place on Monday afternoon local time, the South Korean military said it was keeping an eye on the situation “in case of additional launches” and is “maintaining a readiness posture.”
#UPDATE North Korea launches two projectiles towards the East Sea, South Korea says
– Location: Sunchon, South Pyongyang Province
– Time: Thursday (October 31) 1635/ 1638 KST
– Maximum flying distance: 370km
– Altitude: 90kmhttps://t.co/hOXORKv30a
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) October 31, 2019
If confirmed, Monday’s test would be Pyongyang’s first of the year, and the first in over three months.
The previous launch was on November 28, when the South Korean military reported that its reclusive neighbor fired two projectiles, presumably “from a super-large caliber multiple rocket launcher.”
News of the launch comes after a senior North Korean diplomat said in January that there would be “no reason” for Pyongyang, which has been abiding by a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests, to stand by its commitments unless Washington lifts the “most brutal and inhuman sanctions.”
North Korea previously set a year-end deadline for the US to change its arm-twisting approach to negotiating after de-nuclearization talks in Stockholm in October faltered, with Pyongyang slamming the US’ position as “sickening.”
With negotiations stalled, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned in December that his country will continue to build up its nuclear deterrent unless Washington gives up its “gangster-like demands,” while threatening to take “shocking actual action” if the US keeps dragging its feet.
North Korea negotiations
The North carried out a series of weapons tests late last year, the last of them in November, often describing them as multiple launch rocket systems, although others called them ballistic missiles.
It also carried out static engine tests, most recently in December.
At a party meeting at the end of that month, leader Kim Jong Un declared that Pyongyang no longer considered itself bound by its moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and threatened a demonstration of a “new strategic weapon” soon.
The move came with nuclear negotiations with the US at a standstill and as a unilateral deadline Pyongyang set Washington to offer it fresh concessions on sanctions relief expired.
Pyongyang has previously fired missiles capable of reaching the entire US mainland and has carried out six nuclear tests, the last of them 16 times more powerful than the Hiroshima blast, according to the highest estimates.
It is under multiple sets of sanctions over its weapons programmes from the United Nations Security Council, US, South and other bodies.
Heightened tensions in 2017 were followed by two years of nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington, including three meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump, but little tangible progress was made.
News Desk with inputs from RT.