May 10, 2019 09:53
North Korea fired two more projectiles presumed to be short-range missiles from North Pyongan Province into the East Sea on Thursday afternoon.
One of them flew around 420 km and the other 270 km. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said they were fired at 4:29 and 4:49 p.m. from Kusong in North Pyongan Province toward the east and seem to have reached an altitude of around 50 km.
The latest missile provocation came just four hours before a news conference by South Korean President Moon Jae-in marking the second year of his single, five-year term. Moon is pushing to provide emergency food aid to the North even as Pyongyang has gone back to its old habit of frantically lobbing expensive missiles into the sea to draw attention to itself.
More significant was perhaps that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul to discuss how to resume stalled denuclearization talks with the North while the U.S., South Korea and Japan were holding their 11th trilateral defense talks.
The projectiles are highly likely to have been Russian Iskander-class missiles. A military source said if they had been Scud or Rodong missiles, the maximum altitude should have been between 80 to 130 km.
Iskander-class missiles are capable of evading Patriot and THAAD missile defense systems and carry out precision strikes against South Korean or U.S. military installations.
North Korea launched the same missiles into the sea last weekend, apparently out of growing frustration that no easing of international sanctions is in sight while it continues to refuse to end its nuclear and missile programs.
The last time the military here officially registered a North Korean missile launch was on Nov. 29, 2017, when it launched the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile.
Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Ko Min-jung on Thursday warned the fresh missile launches "do not help improve inter-Korean relations or ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula."
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