North Korea fires 'unidentified projectiles' into sea

Cheryl Sanders
August 24, 2019

In November 2017, Kim Jong Un declared the completion of North Korea's nuclear force after the successful launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching all parts of the United States. They were fired from Sondok in South Hamgyong province and fell in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea on Saturday fired what appears to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, the South Korean military said.

"Our military is tracking the movement in the North in case of additional launches", said the joint chiefs of staff in a statement.

"North Korea's repeated launches of projectiles and missiles show North Korea is working on developing this technology", Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said, adding that the use of ballistic missile technology was banned under United Nations sanctions resolutions. North Korea called the drills an invasion rehearsal and conducted a series of missile and other weapons tests. The talks in Vietnam broke down when the USA refused to lift sanctions in return for North Korea's pause in nuclear and long-range missile testing, as well as the dismantling of several sites.

U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul this week to discuss ways to get negotiations back on track. Starting in late July, North Korea has tested a slew of weapons, mostly short-range missiles and rockets. It called for North Korea to stop escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"As North Korea closely monitors regional affairs, I believe the country took advantage of the situation", he said.

They also say the intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan is still in effect, so they are ready to share information if Japan requests it.

The launch comes after Pyongyang made a scathing attack on Friday on USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo, calling him a "diehard toxin" following the U.S. diplomat's comment that the U.S. would continue the "toughest" sanctions on the North until the reclusive state denuclearised.

"Timing this when Japan-South Korea ties are at their worst in decades, and just after Seoul pulled out of GSOMIA with Japan, would be all-to-predictably be right in the playbook of the Kim regime", said J. Berkshire Miller, deputy director at the MacDonald Laurier Institute and a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. Sondok is the site of a North Korean military airfield. Trump and Kim met again at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume the talks.

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