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North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into East Sea, says South North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into East Sea, South says
(about 2 hours later)
File photo of Kim Jong-un South Korean television broadcast file footage in report about the North's latest test with ballistic missiles
North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles across its east coast, South Korea's military has confirmed. North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles across its east coast, South Korea's military says, its first ballistic missile test in six months.
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called the launch "outrageous", saying it threatened peace and security in the region. The tests, a breach of UN resolutions, came as South Korea and China held meetings in an effort to get the North to resume denuclearisation talks.
It is North Korea's second weapons test in recent days, after the launch of a new long-range cruise missile. Just days earlier, the North fired a new long-range cruise missile.
Wednesday's short-range missiles flew around 800km (500 miles) at a maximum altitude of 60km. The recent launches show the North has continued to develop its weapons despite a severe economic crisis.
According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, they were launched from central inland areas of North Korea and flew east towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. Experts say the country carries out such tests to improve its technology while trying to increase its leverage in negotiations with the US.
It said its military was maintaining "a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the US". The US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for sanctions relief, but the North has refused.
The US said the launches do not pose an immediate threat to "US personnel or territory, or to our allies". Wednesday's short-range missiles flew around 800 km (500 miles) at a maximum altitude of 60km, and were launched from central inland areas of North Korea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
Ballistic missile tests contravene United Nations resolutions designed to curb the North's nuclear activities. They flew east towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, the JCS added, saying South Korea and the US were conducting analysis to determine which type of missile was used.
They can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads and are classed according to how far they can travel - the furthest of which being an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The US Indo-Pacific Command said the missiles did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or allies, but that they highlighted the "destabilising impact of [North Korea's] illicit weapons programme".
North Korea has in the past tested ICBMs said to be capable of reaching nearly all of western Europe and about half of the US mainland. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the launch "outrageous", saying it threatened peace and security in the region.
Pyongyang has said that over the past weekend it tested a long-range cruise missile capable of hitting much of Japan, calling it "a strategic weapon of great significance". Why does North Korea keep launching missiles?
Hours later, South Korea announced that President Moon Jae-in attended the test of the country's first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). It makes the South the seventh country in the world with such technology.
The test was pre-planned and not in reaction to the North's launches.
South Korea now had "sufficient deterrence to respond to North Korea's provocations at any time", President Moon said after the test, urging the South to continue increasing its weapons programmes to "overwhelm North Korea's asymmetric power".
Earlier, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, in Seoul, and said all parties should work to promote peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
"Not only North Korea but other countries are carrying out military activity," he said. "All of us should make efforts in a way that helps resume dialogue."
North Korea had just days earlier tested a long-range cruise missileNorth Korea had just days earlier tested a long-range cruise missile
Experts say the cruise missile could possibly carry a nuclear warhead. UN resolutions ban North Korea from carrying out tests with ballistic missiles - which can carry either nuclear or conventional warhead - in efforts to curb the country's nuclear programme.
Ballistic missiles are classed according to how far they can travel, the furthest of which being an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea has in the past tested ICBMs said to be capable of reaching nearly all of western Europe and about half of the US mainland.
Last weekend, Pyongyang said it tested a long-range cruise missile capable of hitting much of Japan, calling it "a strategic weapon of great significance". Experts say it could possibly carry a nuclear warhead.
The UN Security Council does not forbid the test of cruise missiles. But it considers ballistic missiles to be more threatening because they can carry bigger and more powerful payloads, have a much longer range, and can travel faster.The UN Security Council does not forbid the test of cruise missiles. But it considers ballistic missiles to be more threatening because they can carry bigger and more powerful payloads, have a much longer range, and can travel faster.
North Korea is facing food shortages and a severe economic crisis - prompting questions about how it is still able to develop weapons. North Korea is facing food shortages, and has spent more than a year in isolation. It cut off most trade with its closest ally China to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The country has spent more than a year in isolation. It cut off most trade with its closest ally China to stop the spread of the coronavirus. "Despite its self-imposed pandemic lockdown, North Korea continues to prioritise military modernisation," said Leif-Eric Easley, international studies professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
China's foreign minister is holding talks with his South Korean counterpart in Seoul on Wednesday. Last March, Pyongyang defied sanctions and tested ballistic missiles, which triggered a strong rebuke from the US, Japan and South Korea.
North Korea's weapons programme and stalled negotiations over denuclearisation are likely to be on the agenda.
In March of this year, Pyongyang defied sanctions and tested ballistic missiles, which triggered a strong rebuke from the US, Japan and South Korea.
And last month the UN atomic agency said North Korea appeared to have restarted a reactor which could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, calling it a "deeply troubling" development.And last month the UN atomic agency said North Korea appeared to have restarted a reactor which could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, calling it a "deeply troubling" development.
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