September 16, 2021 09:28
North Korea lobbed two ballistic missiles with a range of 800 km into the East Sea on Wednesday in an apparent bid to draw attention to itself as its bigger neighbors gathered for talks. They come hard on the heels of two long-range cruise missiles it tested over the last weekend.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, the North fired the two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea from South Pyongan Province at 12:34 p.m. and 12:39 p.m. Wednesday.
The JCS believes they have a range of 800 km and flew at a 60 km altitude. They are presumed to be an improved version of the Iskander KN-23 missile that the North fired last March, extending the range by 200 km in just six months.
The launch was the fifth armed provocation by the North this year.
It came immediately after President Moon Jae-in met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Cheong Wa Dae the same day. It is unusual for the North to put on a show of force with missiles that could hit South Korea at a time when the top diplomat of its closest ally is visiting Seoul.
About an hour afterwards, Moon watched the test launch of South Korea's own first home-grown ballistic missile from a submarine. "The improvement in our missile capabilities can be surefire deterrent against provocations by North Korea," he said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister Yo-jong shot back with a statement late in the afternoon that homed in on the word "provocations" and saying it would be "foolish to call him a nation's president."
"If the president joins in the slander and detraction [of the North], this will be followed by counter actions, and the North-South relations will be pushed toward a complete destruction," she added.
On Thursday morning, the North released a photo of a missile ostensibly being launched from a train in an undisclosed location. It said it succeeded in launching ballistic missiles from a train for the first time as part of continuing efforts to bolster its "war deterrence."
The North's missile launches flagrantly violate UN Security Council resolutions.
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