North Korea launched two projectiles Thursday that are believed to have been short-range missiles, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in what would be the second test of such missiles in the past five days.
The apparent missiles were launched from northwestern North Korea, far from the border that divides the Korean Peninsula, and they landed in the Sea of Japan/East Sea, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
Citing a statement from the joint chiefs, the Korean outlet says the first projectile was launched at 4:29 p.m. local time and flew about 260 miles. The second was fired 10 minutes later and flew about 168 miles.
South Korea’s military initially said Thursday’s launch took place in an area near Sino-ri, which South Korean media report as having a medium-range missile base. It later clarified that the projectiles were fired from the town of Kusong, north of Sino-ri.
The projectiles flew east, over populated land in North Korea and into the ocean. After the launch was announced, Japan’s Ministry of Defense said the apparent missiles did not reach its waters.
“The test comes as U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun is visiting Seoul,” NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports from South Korea’s capital, “and defense officials from the U.S., Japan and South Korea are holding annual talks here, as well.”
On Saturday, North Korea’s military launched a flurry of rockets and what it calls a “tactical guided weapon,” in what was seen as proof that the country is still working on new weapons as de-escalation talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have stalled.
The missile tested Saturday bears a striking resemblance to Russia’s Iskander missile, which NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel describes as “a highly accurate short-range weapon capable of striking targets more than 150 miles away.”
North Korea’s missile test over the weekend took place along its east coast. U.S. officials had downplayed its importance, saying that the weapons North Korea is testing are far different from long-range ballistic missiles — and the tests that caused alarm in 2017.