South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday that North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, the Korea Times reported. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the first missile was launched at 5.06 am [1.36 am Indian Standard Time] local time and the second at 5.27 am [1.57 am IST] from the Kalma area near the port of Wonsan.
Both missiles flew around 250 kilometres at a height of 30 km, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The launches came two days after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles from the same area into the East Sea.
“Successive missile launches by North Korea are not conducive to efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and we call for a halt to these acts,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
South Korea Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the missiles were of a different type from those used by North Korea earlier. He added that Pyongyang should be regarded as an enemy if it carries out provocations that threaten Seoul.
However, the United States reacted with caution. “We are aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea, and we will continue to monitor the situation,” an unidentified State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.
US-North Korea dialogue
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met for the first time on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, following which Kim committed to the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula. In response, Trump announced the suspension of Washington’s “very provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea.
Trump and Kim held a second meeting in Vietnam later in the year but it ended abruptly following a disagreement over sanctions imposed on North Korea. In March, North Korea promised further negotiations on its nuclear weapons with the United States despite both countries failing to reach a deal at the Hanoi summit.
Tensions escalated in May when Pyongyang fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017. Trump, however, dismissed concerns over the missile testing. The US-South Korea military exercises have since resumed, angering North Korea.