March 03, 2020 09:34
North Korea fired two presumed short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday after a lull of over three months.
The provocation came just a day after President Moon Jae-in proposed helping the North with the fight against coronavirus in a speech marking the 101st anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement.
"We detected two short-range projectiles fired from near Wonsan into the northeastern East Sea around 12:37 p.m. Monday," a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said. "We presume they were ballistic missiles."
They were fired 20 seconds apart and flew about 240 km at an altitude of 35 km.
On Tuesday, state media said leader Kim Jong-un "oversaw artillery units' firing drills."
In an urgent meeting, Cheong Wa Dae urged the North to stop its provocations. "Such an action by the North will not be conducive to efforts to reduce military tensions on the Korean Peninsula," a spokesman said.
The launch at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has virtually disbanded his North Korea negotiating team and coronavirus takes up all the world's headlines looks like a desperate bid for attention.
Only this week the North admitted to quarantining some 7,000 suspected coronavirus patients, though it insists nobody there has yet contracted the disease or died of it.
Late last year the North set an arbitrary year-end deadline for the resumption of talks and threatened the U.S. with a "Christmas gift" and a "new strategic weapon" that never materialized.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com