North Korea launched two short-range missiles into its East Sea early on Thursday, July 25 (local time), prompting arguments around the motive of the firing.
Seoul-based Yonhap News citing South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said in a statement: “North Korea fired one short-range missile at around 5:34 a.m. and the other at 5:57 a.m., from Hodo Peninsula near its eastern coastal town of Wonsan into the East Sea.”
A JCS officer said one missile flew around 430 kilometers (270 miles), the other traveled around 690 km (430 miles), and both flew at an altitude of around 50 km before landing off the east coast.
The projectiles were presumed to have been fired from a transporter erector launcher (TEL).
In a response, a senior U.S. government official said the United States is “aware of reports of a short-range projectile launched from North Korea,” but gave no further comment.
The JCS officer said South Korean and U.S. forces are closely watching the North’s movements, analyzing the details and intention behind the launches.
According to Korea Herald, North Korea tested the missiles as it is currently conducting its annual summer military exercise.
The new missile launches came more than two months after Pyongyang fired short-range missiles on two occasions in early May.
At that time, U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed the potential threat from North Korea, insisting the tests did not violate the pledge made by its leader Kim Jong Un during their summit last year that Pyongyang would halt intercontinental- and medium-range missiles and nuclear weapons tests while negotiations are underway.
That action, perhaps, leads to a warmer relation between the two as President Trump and Kim had a beyond-expectation meeting at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in late June. They then agreed to resume their working-level nuclear talks within a few weeks.
Ahead possibility of dialogue resumption, some experts said the missile tests Thursday signaled North Korea is trying to get an upper hand in their talks, according to The Associated Press.