North Korea launches two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea says
North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.
It is the second time in a week that the country has tested missiles.
The missiles were launched from the Wonsan-Kalma area just after 5 a.m. local time and 5:27 a.m. on Wednesday, and traveled an estimated distance of 250 kilometers and a height of 30 kilometers, according to South Korean officials.
A US official also confirmed the missile launch to CNN, adding that they had posed no threat to the US or its allies, and fell into the sea.
But South Korea’s JCS warned in a statement that North Korea’s repeated missile launches did “not aid in efforts to ease the tension on the Korean Peninsula.”
“We call for cessation of these actions,” the statement added.
The launches come after North Korean officials indicated to a White House national security administration official last week that working level talks could start soon, a senior administration official said Tuesday.
Three launches in three months
This is North Korea’s third launch in as many months. In May, a short-range missile launch appeared to signal North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s frustration at deadlocked talks with the United States. On July 25, North Korea sent two new short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.
According to North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the July 25 twin launches were intended to send a warning to South Korea and had been “personally organized” by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea said then that it viewed them as a “military threat” designed to undermine progress toward stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Experts said that the launches might have been North Korea’s response to planned joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. The exercises have long been an aggravation for North Korea.