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N. Korea fires short-range projectiles toward East Sea: JCS

Update: September, 10/2019 - 10:46
N. Korea fires short-range projectiles A projectile, believed to be the North Korean version of the US' Army Tactical Missile System, is launched on August 16, 2019, in the file photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. North Korea fired two short-range projectiles from a western region toward the East Sea Tuesday, South Korea's military said, just hours after the North offered to resume nuclear talks with the US. — YONHAP/VNA Photo

SEOUL — North Korea fired two short-range projectiles from a western region toward the East Sea/the Sea of Japan to the east on Tuesday, South Korea's military said, just hours after the nation offered to resume nuclear talks with the United States.

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

Both flew around 330km, the JCS said, adding that South Korean and the US intelligence authorities are analysing 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 US 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 denuclearisation talks with the US 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 US 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 US and the South. The North last conducted such launches on August 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.

In a related movement, Japan's Defense Ministry said there was no imminent threat to Japanese security following the North Korean launches.

The ministry said in a statement that it had not confirmed any ballistic missiles entering Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone. — YONHAP/KYODO


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