SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Thursday fired two short-range projectiles, likely from a “super-large” multiple rocket launcher, South Korea’s military said, adding to tensions three days after the North said its troops conducted artillery drills near its disputed sea boundary with South Korea.
The recent North Korea activities could indicate it wants to show what would happen if Washington fails to meet a year-end deadline set by its leader, Kim Jong Un, for the U.S. to offer a new proposal in their stalemated nuclear talks.
Maj. Gen. Jeon Dong Jin, a senior operations officer at the JCS, said the projectiles flew about 380 kilometers (235 miles) at a maximum altitude of 97 kilometers (60 miles). He said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were continuing to analyze the details.
“Our military expresses its strong regret over (the launches) and urges (North Korea) to immediately stop acts that escalate military tensions,” Jeon said in a televised briefing. He said the military is monitoring possible additional launches by North Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launches as a “serious challenge” to both Japan and the international community, even though the projectiles did not land inside Japanese territorial waters.
He said his government will “do its utmost” to protect the lives and assets of Japanese people.
The reported launches were the 13th major public weapons test by North Korea this year and the first since it conducted what it called a test-firing of a new “super-large” multiple rocket launcher late last month. That launcher is apparently the same system that South Korea’s military said was likely used in Thursday’s launches.
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