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N. Korea fires multiple ballistic missiles

July 30, 2019

North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles, according to South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is the second North Korean ballistic missile test in less than a week.

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Young-Joon

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from Wonsan city off the country's east coast, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.

The two missiles flew about 250 kilometers (155 miles) and reached a height of 30 kilometers, Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

"We stress a series of missile launches do not help ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and urge the North to refrain from such acts," a Joint Chiefs of Staff statement said.

The missiles appeared to be different from those launched in previous tests, Yonhap reported. It did not elaborate. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launches were "no threat to Japanese national security." Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said: "It is extremely regrettable that North Korea continues firing the missiles that violate the U.N. resolutions."

The US military said it was monitoring reports of a missile test. 

North Korea ramping up pressure 

Six days earlier, North Korea test-launched two new short-range ballistic missiles, the first such missile tests since May. 

North Korea said those tests were meant as a warning to South Korea over its high-tech defense purchases and planned military exercises with US troops next month. 

North Korea has called for an end to joint US-South Korean military exercises as a precondition for denuclearization talks.

The test missile launches threaten to derail US-North Korea attempts to revive working-level talks on denuclearization following a meeting last month between US President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). 

Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to downplay last week's missile launches, saying that the US hoped to advance talks. North Korean ballistic missile tests are against UN resolutions.

Fears over new submarine

Last week, North Korea showed off a new missile-capable submarine that would be its first operational submersible with missile launch tubes.

On Wednesday, South Korea's military said they believe the submarine has three launch tubes, according to the head of the country's parliamentary intelligence community Lee Hye-hoon.

Missile-capable submarines are particularly threatening because they are difficult to detect and can fire nuclear or conventional missiles at a relatively short distance to their target. 

amp,cw/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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