Military drills, being jointly conducted by South Korea and the United States, have prompted the North Korean Government to continue its rocket tests, with Pyongyang firing two short-range projectiles from its eastern coast on Friday.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the projectiles were launched into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, from Tongchon in the eastern province of Kangwon, the news agency Yonhap reported.
An initial analysis of the launch indicates that ballistic missiles were used, according to a Defence Ministry spokesman.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea – which has also conducted several nuclear weapons tests – from launching short, medium and long-range ballistic missiles.
North Korea’s reunification committee had previously criticised South Korea for conducting joint military exercises with the U.S. and said that inter-Korean talks would no longer take place.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed Pyongyang’s firing of projectiles, but said they “will not have any impact on our country’s security’’.
“We are on full alert and continue to take all possible measures to protect public safety while coordinating with countries such as the United States.’’
According to South Korea, the most recent tests involved projectiles with a maximum altitude of 30 kilometres that flew approximately 230 kilometres.
The exact type of missile remained unclear.
North Korea has tested five rockets since late July.
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Pyongyang says the tests are in response to joint military exercises being conducted between the U.S. and South Korea.
Pyongyang and Washington are currently trying to relaunch stalled talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes and economic sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June in the Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas and agreed to restart talks.
That meeting came after a second summit between the leaders in Hanoi in February failed to yield a deal on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and the reduction of sanctions.
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