N. Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles off east coast: JCS
NUR-SULTAN - SEOUL. KAZINFORM - North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the second such launch in less than a week, Yonhap reports.
The first missile was launched at 5:06 a.m., and the second at 5:27 a.m., from the Kalma area near the North's eastern port of Wonsan, according to the JCS.
Both are estimated to have flown about 250 kilometers at an approximate altitude of 30 km, the JCS said, adding that the South Korean and U.S. militaries are analyzing more details.
The launches come six days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the same area into the East Sea in its first provocation since May. Those missiles flew some 600 kilometers at an altitude of around 50 km and were identified as «KN-23,» or the North's version of Russia's Iskander ballistic missile.
«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 JCS said in a statement.
A JCS official told reporters that Wednesday's missiles were fired from a transporter erector launcher (TEL), as was the case with the launches last week, adding that the launches appear to be a test of the weapons, given their relatively low altitude.
He added that the missiles appear to be similar to those launched last week, though the military is analyzing data related to the pattern of their flight.
After last week's missile firings, North Korea's state media said that the launches, held under the supervision of leader Kim Jong-un, were designed to send a «solemn» warning to South Korea over its plan to conduct joint military drills with the U.S. next month and purchase high-tech fighter jets from the ally.
South Korea held a National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the latest launches.Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said that North Korea should be regarded as an «enemy» if it carries out provocations that threaten South Korea.
U.N. Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from launching ballistic missiles. On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned a Vietnam-based North Korean individual for his alleged involvement in the weapons program.