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P
Pa
March 22, 2020

N Korea fires two ballistic missiles

Top Story

P
Pa
March 22, 2020

PYONGYANG: North Korea on Saturday fired two presumed short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea’s military said.

The development came as Pyongyang continues to expand military capabilities amid deadlocked nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration and a crippling global health crisis surrounding the coronavirus.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were fired around 6:45 and 6:50am local time from an area around the county of Sonchon in western North Korea. They flew 255 miles cross-country before landing in waters off the eastern coast.

South Korea and the US are analysing the launches. Seoul’s military urged the North to immediately stop its “very inappropriate” military demonstrations when the world is struggling to cope with coronavirus. Japan’s Defence Ministry said the projectiles did not reach Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone. The North conducted two previous rounds of similar short-range launches and other military exercises this month after leader Kim Jong Un entered the new year vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” US sanctions and pressure.

While the North is clearly determined to advance its missile capabilities, Japan’s Defence Minister Taro Kono said Pyongyang’s demonstrations could also be aimed at “bracing the regime together” amid the coronavirus crisis.

It was not immediately clear what North Korea tested. Flight data released by the South Korean and Japanese militaries suggests the North could have tested one of its new mobile, solid-fuel missile systems it first demonstrated last year.