North Korea launches apparent ballistic missiles into ocean


This month’s military drills have been conducted despite a border lockdown and quarantine measures imposed in the country

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast on Sunday, military officials in South Korea and Japan said, the latest in an unprecedented flurry of launches this month.

Two “short-range projectiles” were launched from the coastal Wonsan area, and flew 230 kilometres (143 miles) at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometres (19 miles), South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense said they appeared to be ballistic missiles, and they did not land in Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone.

They would be the eighth and ninth missiles launched in four rounds of tests this month as North Korean troops conduct ongoing military drills, usually personally overseen by leader Kim Jong Un.

The last test launch was on March 21. Based on photographs released by North Korean state media at the time, analysts identified those weapons as KN-24 short-range ballistic missiles.

United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, and the country has been heavily sanctioned over its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

This month’s military drills have been conducted despite a border lockdown and quarantine measures imposed in North Korea in an effort to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus. The politically and economically isolated country has not reported any confirmed cases, though some foreign experts have raised doubts over that.


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