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Seoul Claims DPRK Fired Two 'Unidentified Projectiles' - Report

© AFP 2021 / JUNG YEON-JEPeople watch a television news screen showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 6, 2019.
People watch a television news screen showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on August 6, 2019.  - Sputnik International
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Since late July, Pyongyang has carried out a number of tests of what are reportedly short-range ballistic missiles. The latest launch reportedly occurred amid the ongoing South Korean-US joint military drills, which kicked off on 5 August and will last through 20 August.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, cited by local media, that North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast early on Friday morning. The South Korean military said the projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon of Kangwon Province into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

"The military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture", the statement said, cited by AFP.

Since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump met in the Korean demilitarized zone and agreed to restart stalled denuclearisation talks, Pyongyang has already carried out several launches, reportedly claiming they were aimed at discouraging Seoul and Washington from holding joint military maneuvers.

The South Korean Defence Ministry said earlier this week that Seoul plans to modernize its fleet of fighter jets within the next five years and seek more defence opportunities in space. South Korea's plan comes in the wake North Korea launching multiple projectiles, which Seoul has reportedly classified as ballistic missiles, over the past several weeks. 

On Thursday, Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya also stressed the need to strengthen surveillance efforts due to the possibility that North Korea could fire more missiles following its launches in recent weeks.

In an earlier statement following the previous missile tests, Kim said the tests were intended as a warning to South Korea and the United States to stop their simulated military drills, which the North Korean leader said violated the June 2018 agreement between him and Trump to cease such exercises.

North Korea has been engaged in denuclearisation talks with the United States since 2018. Kim and Trump expressed their commitment to this process at their first bilateral meeting in Singapore in June 2018.

The two leaders met for a second time in Vietnam in February 2019, but their talks finished abruptly without an agreement or a consensus on its conditions. While Pyongyang wants international sanctions on it to be lifted, Washington has insisted that Pyongyang first completely abandon its nuclear program.

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