International

N Korea fires short-range missiles into Sea

Seoul, May 4 (IANS) | Publish Date: 5/4/2019 12:04:59 PM IST

North Korea fired a barrage of unidentified short-range missiles in the direction of the East Sea on Saturday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The North “fired multiple rounds of unidentified missiles from its east coast town of Wonsan in the northeastern direction between 9.06 a.m. and 9.27 a.m. on Saturday”, Yonhap News Agency quoted the JCS as saying in a statement.

The missiles flew for a range of about 70 to 200 km, the JCS said, adding that South Korean and US authorities were analysing details. “Our military has been closely watching North Korea’s movements and has maintained a full-fledged posture in close coordination with the US,” it added.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: “We are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight. We will continue to monitor as necessary,” reports CNN.

Japan’s Defence Ministry said there was no evidence the projectiles had landed in its territorial waters. Saturday’s launch comes a few weeks after North Korea said it conducted a tactical guided weapons firing test, according to state media. In a report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), leader Kim Jong-un praised that test as a “great historic event in strengthening the combat capability of the People’s Army”. North Korea’s missile programme made major strides in 2017, when Pyongyang claimed it had successfully test fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles.  Rising international tension over Pyongyang’s weapons programme eased in 2018 when Kim indicated his willingness to negotiate, and later met South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump.

After making some progress in 2018, talks appeared to stall this year when Kim and Trump’s second meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, abruptly ended with no agreement as Pyongyang pushed for more sanctions relief in exchange for denuclearization, while the US demanded greater evidence that the country is prepared to reduce its nuclear arsenal.

 

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