North Korea fires two missiles

North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast and into the Sea of Japan.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with military officials
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with military officials

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Sunday (local time), AFP reports.

Two projectiles were fired eastwards from the port city of Wonsan and flew 230 kilometers (143 miles) into the Sea of Japan -- also known as the East Sea -- at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

"Such military action by North Korea is an extremely inappropriate act when the entire world is having difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak," they added.

The Japanese defense ministry said the "ballistic missile-like objects" did not cross into Japanese waters or the country's exclusive economic zone.

The latest launch by Pyongyang comes as a prolonged hiatus in disarmament talks with the United States drags on.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018, most recently in Vietnam in February, but with little progress towards denuclearization.

Since those talks broke down, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

A little over a week ago, the nuclear-armed North fired what were believed to be two short-range ballistic missiles, describing them as a new "tactical guided weapon".

A day later, North Korean state media announced that Trump had sent a letter to Kim detailing a plan to develop ties.

The report cited Kim's powerful sister Kim Yo Jong, who warned that the apparently good personal relationship between the two leaders would not be enough to foster broader relations.

Pyongyang set a unilateral end-2019 deadline for Washington to offer fresh concessions. In his New Year’s message after his ultimatum to the US expired, the North Korean leader said his country would continue developing nuclear programs unless the US gave up its hostile approach.

In late January, North Korea said it is no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing.