North Korea ‘fires two short-range missiles’ in escalation of tensions with South

Latest launch comes less than five days after previous weapons test

Abby Young-Powell
Thursday 09 May 2019 12:24 BST
Kim Jong-un ‘supervising a strike drill’, according to state media
Kim Jong-un ‘supervising a strike drill’, according to state media (AFP/Getty)

North Korea has fired two short-range missiles just days after its leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and another missile, South Korea said.

The missiles were fired from the town of Sino-ri, which is northwest of the capital Pyongyang. They flew 261 miles and 168 miles respectively towards the east, Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement, and were fired at about 4.30pm local time (07.30 GMT).

“One thing is clear – there’s no doubt that it is a missile,” Yang Uk, senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum, said. “North Korea has returned to its classic escalation tactics from before. I believe they will keep escalating by using what appear to be short-range missiles, something that will not cause the US to react right away.”

The projectiles are thought to have been launched from the site of a medium-range Rodong missile base on North Korea’s west coast. South Korean intelligence agencies are continuing to assess information about the new launches.

Talks between the United States and North Korea about the latter’s nuclear arsenal have reached a stalemate in recent months.

The new missile tests come as a top US envoy arrived in South Korea for discussions on how to break the deadlock.

Analysts suggest North Korea is trying to increase pressure on the US after its refusal to make concessions, according to the BBC.

On Saturday, North Korea fired a number of rockets from its east coast into the ocean, but said on Wednesday they were “regular and defensive” and not provocative.

After Thursday’s launch, South Korea’s military said it had stepped up monitoring and security in case of another launch, and was working with the US to get additional information about the missiles involved.

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