North Korea has fired two unidentified projectiles into the sea and launched a scathing attack on “foolish” calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
South Korean military said the projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon of Kangwon Province into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. It is an extension of a recent streak of weapons tests believed to be aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear diplomacy.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast landed in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. South Korean military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture.
South Korea’s presidential office said National Security Adviser Chung Eui yong was presiding over an emergency National Security Council meeting about the launches and President Moon Jae in was being briefed on the developments.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Defense Ministry said the North Korean projectiles did not reach the country’s territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.
It was North Korea’s sixth round of weapons launch since July.
Experts opined that North Korea began stepping up its weapons demonstrations while expressing frustration over stalemated nuclear negotiations with the United States and continuance of U.S.-South Korea joint military drills that North Korea sees as an invasion rehearsal. U.S. President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the North’s launches allowed the country more room to intensify its testing activity while it seeks to build leverage ahead of a possible resumption of negotiations, which could happen sometime after the end of the allied drills later this month.
Recently, North Korea has ignored South Korea’s calls for dialogue and is seen as putting pressure on Seoul to coax major concessions from Washington on its behalf.