SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Thursday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its sixth round of weapons launches this month, South Korea’s military said.
Experts say North Korea’s unusually fast pace in testing activity underscores an intent to pressure the Biden administration over long-stalled negotiations aimed at exchanging a release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the North and the North’s denuclearization steps.
The renewed pressure comes as the pandemic further shakes the North’s economy, which was already battered by crippling U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and decades of mismanagement by its own government.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons, which were likely short-range, were launched five minutes apart from the eastern coastal town of Hamhung and flew 190 kilometers (118 miles) on an apogee of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) before landing at sea.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who described North Korea’s repeated missile firings as “extremely regrettable,” but said there has so far been no reports of damage to vessel and aircraft around the Japanese coast.
Senior South Korean security and military officials gathered for an emergency National Security Council meeting where they expressed strong regret over the North’s continuing launches and urged Pyongyang to recommit to dialogue, Seoul’s presidential office said.
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