North Korea fired two projectiles that appeared to be short-range missiles on Thursday, less than a week after it conducted what it claimed was a “regular military drill.”
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said launches of what appeared to be short-range missiles took place at 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. in Kusong, North Pyongan Province. It had initially said they were launched at Sino-ri, some 40 kilometers below Kusong in the same province.
Both of the projectiles traveled east at the altitude of 50 kilometers and landed in the East Sea. They flew 420 kilometers and 270 kilometers respectively. Further information was not given, as the JCS said it is working with the United States to determine details.
South Korea’s presidential office expressed regret over the launch, saying it does not help ease military tension on the Korean Peninsula.
“It raises much concern that North Korea launched projectiles that appear to be short-range missiles and that it does not do any good for relieving military tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said in a statement.
On the same day — Thursday — South Korea, the US and Japan held trilateral security talks in Seoul. According to Seoul’s Defense Ministry, the three sides jointly expressed hope that the recent summits and declarations with North Korea will contribute to complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“The representatives of the three countries have shared their perspectives on the recent launches of projectiles by North Korea and agreed to carefully watch over the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.
Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Chung Suk-hwan represented South Korea. Randall Schriver, US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, and Takeshi Ishikawa, deputy director-general of the Defense Policy Bureau at the Japanese Defense Ministry, were his US and Japanese counterparts.
Acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea Marc Knapper also attended the meeting.
On Saturday, North Korea fired multiple projectiles from the east coast town of Wonsan into the East Sea. The North’s Korean Central News Agency called Saturday’s launches a “strike drill” for multiple rocket launchers and a tactical guided weapon.
While South Korea’s Defense Ministry has yet to confirm the exact nature of the projectiles launched Saturday, US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Wednesday during a congressional hearing that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford had referred to them as “rockets and missiles.”