North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the East Sea on Monday in what was believed to be part of a joint strike exercise, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The projectiles were fired north-eastward from areas near its eastern town of Sondok in South Hamgyong province at 7.36 a.m, Yonhap News Agency quoted the JCS as saying, adding that they flew around 200 km, reaching a maximum altitude of around 50 km.
The launches came a week after the North conducted similar firings on March 2.
“Today’s launches appear to be part of its artillery strike drill involving multiple types of multiple rocket launchers for a wintertime exercise, following the previous ones staged on Feb. 28 and March 2,” the JCS said in a statement.
The South Korean and the US intelligence authorities have been analyzing other specifics, it said, adding that the military was “monitoring the situation in case there are additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture”.
The exercise is expected to continue through the end of this month.
A JCS officer told reporters that the three projectiles bore similarities to those fired on March 2, and several other projectiles from “multiple types” of rocket launchers also appear to have been fired in the latest test.
On March 2, the North fired two short-range projectiles from its super-large multiple rocket launcher under the guidance of Kim Jong-un during its strike drill, said the Yonhap News Agency.
It also conducted an outdoor drill three days earlier.
Kim is also believed to have supervised the latest firings, according to military sources.
So far, North Korea has tested the system five times. Sondok is where the North conducted the first known test of this weapon in August 2019.
Meanwhile, the South Korean presidential office held an emergency meeting of security-related ministers via a video conference, presided over by Chung Eui-yong, director of national security, and analyzed the North’s intention and the overall security circumstances.
The latest firings came the North Korean leader’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, had issued a statement just the previous day blasting South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office as “gangster-like” and “foolish” for complaining about Pyongyang’s recent projectile launches.
Throughout 2019, the North test-launched missiles 13 times amid the stalled denuclearization talks with the US.
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