N. Korea fires at least three projectiles toward East Sea
Published – March 9, 2020 2:15 pm
North Korea fired at least three short-range projectiles toward the East Sea.
It’s the second launch conducted this year, following last Monday’s tests.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff has confirmed that North Korea fired at least three short-range projectiles from the eastern town of Sondok, Hamgyeongnam-do Province toward the East Sea at around 7:36AM on Monday.
The projectiles traveled an estimated distance of 200 kilometers and reached an altitude of 50 kilometers.
The JCS said the launches appear to be an artillery strike drill as part of a wintertime exercise… involving more than one type of multiple rocket launcher.
A South Korean military official said there was a roughly 20-second gap between two of the launches… and a gap of more than one minute before the other launch,… and that they were conducted to perfect the North’s so-called “strategic weapon” that can penetrate existing anti-missile systems.
In response to the launches, the Joint Chiefs again called on the North to refrain from engaging in actions that do not help lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
That message was reiterated by Seoul’s presidential office, where the National Security Director convened an emergency meeting of security-related ministers.
The Blue House condemned the launches, which it sees as a continuation of North Korea’s combined military drills that began on February 28th.
Multiple South Korean military sources say the move is an attempt by the North Korean regime to consolidate its power amid the coronavirus outbreak by turning its military’s focus away from domestic issues.
They also say the launches could be intended to strengthen North Korea’s hand in the stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.
They come just five days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a letter to President Moon Jae-in expressing the North’s support for Seoul’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus.
They also come days after five European countries and members of the United Nations Security Council condemned another launch by North Korea conducted on March 2nd.
The North’s foreign ministry said this was a move based on U.S. pressure and warned of a grave reaction.