North Korea warning: Kim fires ‘two unidentified missiles’ as conflict tensions explode

The alleged missile launch comes after ongoing US-led military exercises with South Korea.  It would make it North Korea’s sixth launch in more than three weeks as tensions with the US soar. The weapons used in the suspected test have yet to been identified but are likely to be short-range ballistic missiles that Pyongyang has tested many times this year.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said projectiles were twice launched from an area on the North’s eastern coast.

The potential launch comes just a week after two tactical guided missiles were fired across the South Hwanghae peninsula.

It comes amid stalled denuclearisation talks with Washington and US-South Korea military exercises, although Washington and Seoul played down the tests.

Kim said it was “an occasion to send an adequate warning to the joint military drill now underway by the US and South Korean authorities”, according to KCNA.

The “new-type tactical guided missiles”, launched from the western area of North Korea, flew across the peninsula over the capital and the central inland region to “precisely hit the targeted islet” in the sea off the North’s east coast, KCNA said.

Its report confirmed the South Korean military’s analysis of their trajectories on Tuesday.

The launches “clearly verified the reliability, security and actual war capacity” of the weapon, KCNA said, echoing analysts who said the launches showed North Korea’s confidence in its missile technology.

The United States and South Korea kicked off their largely computer-simulated Dong Maeng – or “alliance” – exercises this week as an alternative to previous large-scale annual drills that were halted to expedite denuclearisation talks.

North Korea decries such exercises as a rehearsal for war aimed at toppling its leadership.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, on his first tour of Asia, said during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo that North Korea remained of great concern.

Esper said the US won’t overreact to the missile tests.

Lee Sang-min, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry that handles inter-Korean ties, urged the North to stop the tests and explore confidence-building measures such as returning to a joint military committee.

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