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North Korea has fired two short-range missiles, according to South Korean military chiefs

It comes after Pyongyang carried out another military drill on Saturday.

Image: 朝鮮通信社

NORTH KOREA HAS fired a round of missiles for the second time in less than a week, according to South Korea’s military. 

It comes after Pyongyang carried out a military drill, firing multiple projectiles, with one believed to be a short-range missile, on Saturday. 

The North “fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles” from North Pyongan province, Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said, adding they flew between 270km and 420km.

Both South Korean and US militaries were jointly analysing them, it said. 

It also came hours after the US special representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in Seoul for talks with South Korean officials on the allies’ approach towards Pyongyang.

It is Biegun’s first visit to Seoul since the Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and the Kim Jong Un collapsed without agreement.

The decades-old Sino-ri operational missile base, 75km northwest of Pyongyang, is one of North Korea’s longest-running missile facilities and houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with medium-range ballistic missiles, according to the Centre for Strategic & International Studies.

Anything fired from it in an easterly direction would have to cross the Korean peninsula before reaching the sea.

The US envoy is due to meet the South’s foreign and unification ministers tomorrow as the security allies work on their approach towards Pyongyang.

Washington currently stations 28,500 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbour.

Hong Min, a senior researcher at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification said “North Korea is sending a clear message that it will not be satisfied with humanitarian aid” being considered by Seoul.

“It is saying, ‘We want security guarantees in return for the denuclearisation process’,” he added. 

“Kim could have felt he needed to show a strong military posture to ease complaints following a joint South-US military drill last month.”

The North has said Saturday’s drill involved multiple Pyongyang “long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons”.

Experts say it launched at least one short-range missile during the exercise, with a report on the respected 38 North website suggesting that it was a “direct import” of a Russian-produced Iskander.

“The debris generated by the launch in North Korea is a virtual match of a launch of Iskander conducted by Russia,” it said.

Pyongyang insisted earlier Thursday that Saturday’s “routine drill” was conducted within its own waters and added the “flying objects” did not pose any threat to the US, South Korea and Japan.

© AFP 2019

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