North Korea ‘fires two missiles in first test of the year’

North Korea 'fires two missiles in first test of the year'
A previous missile test by North Korea. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times, Seoul: South Korea’s military said North Korea has launched two unidentified projectiles in its first apparent weapons test of the year.

On Monday, the projectiles launched from the country’s east coast towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

The weapons were believed to be short-range ballistic missiles.

After an 18-month freeze, the North launched its first missile, but as the year progressed, many more followed. The country has historically stepped up missile testing in the spring, carried out its last test in November.

The latest test comes just days after South Korea and the US announced they were postponing the annual joint drills that anger the North, amid concern over the coronavirus.

The tests seemed to be “less provocative than North Korea is capable of”, described by Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“The US and South Korea postponing their drills and offering humanitarian assistance has earned no goodwill from a Kim regime that sees little benefit in restarting diplomacy,” he added.

In the beginning of the year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he was ending the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, as talks between the US and North Korea ground to a halt. He threatened that the world would “witness a new strategic weapon in the near future”.

In November last year, North Korea conducted a missile launch calling it a “super-large multiple-rocket launcher”. But Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accused the North of launching ballistic missiles, earning him scorn from North Korean state media who called him an “imbecile”.

The country is banned from firing ballistic missiles under US Security Council resolutions but has fired missiles in the past that it claims are capable of reaching the US mainland.

Talks between the US and North Korea about its nuclear program remain stalled.

In 2018, Kim and Trump held historic talks in Singapore aimed at denuclearisation – though the definition of this is contested.

In February next year, the both met again in Vietnam but the talks broke down and ended early without agreement.

They met again in June at the demilitarised zone that separates North and South Korea. But relations quickly deteriorated. in the following months.

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