N. Korea fires short-range projectiles toward East Sea

This photo carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 25, 2019, shows a "new super-large" multiple rocket launch system tested the previous day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Sep 10, 2019, Yonhap. North Korea fired two short-range projectiles from a western region toward the East Sea on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, just hours after the communist nation offered to resume nuclear talks with the United States, reported the Yonhap.

The projectiles were fired at 6:53 a.m. and 7:12 a.m. from areas in the city of Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, about 80 kilometers north of the capital, Pyongyang, in an easterly direction, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Both flew around 330 km, the JCS said, adding that South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing their exact type. It did not provide information on their top speed.

“Our military is monitoring the situation in the case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” the JCS said, calling on the North “to instantly stop such acts that heighten tensions.”

In response to the latest launches, South Korea held an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting, presided over by Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential national security office, and discussed the issue.

In Washington, a senior U.S. government official said it is aware of the latest missile launches and is closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with its allies.

The firings came just hours after the North’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui expressed a willingness to resume denuclearization talks with the U.S. in late September and demanded that Washington come up with a new proposal acceptable to Pyongyang.

The move could be designed to strengthen Pyongyang’s negotiating hand ahead of the resumption of the nuclear talks that have been stalled since February’s no-deal breakdown of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Tuesday’s firings were the 10th such launches so far this year, during which the North tested new types of missiles or multiple rocket launchers in protest of joint military exercises between the U.S. and the South. The North last conducted such launches on Aug. 24 and said it tested a “new super-large” multiple rocket launch system.

Last month, the North’s leader sent a letter to Trump and vowed to stop those military acts when the joint exercise concluded. Seoul and Washington wrapped up their exercise last month, but the North has continued to conduct such launches.

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