North Korea fires two new ballistic missiles


Latest updates: People in Seoul watching a television news report on North Korea firing missiles off its east coast. — Reuters

Seoul: North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles, Seoul’s military said, just days after Pyongyang announced a successful test of a solid-fuel motor for a new weapons system.

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply this year as Pyongyang has carried out an unprecedented blitz of weapons tests, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever last month.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected two ballistic missiles that had been fired from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province yesterday.

The missiles were fired into the East Sea, it said, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan.

“Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance while closely cooperating with the United States and maintaining a full readiness posture,” the JCS added.

The missiles flew about 500km and reached a maximum altitude of around 550km, according to Japan’s defence ministry.

“It threatens the peace and security of our country, this region and the international community, and it is absolutely unacceptable,” said senior vice defence minister Toshiro Ino.

Yesterday’s launch came days after North Korea tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel motor”, with state media describing it as an important test “for the development of another new-type strategic weapon system”.

Despite heavy international sanctions over its weapons programmes, Pyongyang has built up an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

All its known ICBMs are liquid- fuelled, however, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has placed strategic priority on developing solid- fuel engines for more advanced missiles.

Kim said this year that he wants North Korea to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force. — AFP

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ballistic missiles , weapons , tensions

   

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