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North Korea fires three projectiles into sea, South Korea says

North Korea launched multiple short-range projectiles into the sea on Monday as part of ongoing firing drills, a week after it resumed missile tests following a three-month break, South Korea’s military said.

The projectiles included artillery fired from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and flew up to 200 kms (124 miles) and reached 50 km in altitude, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

They were launched from the eastern coastal town of Sondok, home to a military airfield where nuclear-armed North Korea fired missiles last year, the JCS said in a statement.

The JCS said the latest test appeared to be part of firing drills that have been under way since late last month and personally overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After a three-month halt in missile testing, North Korea tested an MLRS on March 2, which Seoul officials said was part of the same exercises.

The JCS expressed “strong regret” over the launch and said it was watching for additional tests.

South Korean national security advisor Chung Eui-yong held a video meeting with the defense minister and intelligence chief to analyze the North’s latest test and intent, the presidential Blue House said.

“The ministers once again pointed out that the continued firing drills are unhelpful for efforts to build lasting peace on the Korean peninsula,” the Blue House said in a statement.

Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono said the projectiles appeared to be ballistic missiles and did not fall into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, though the government was examining details about the launch.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said North Korea had fired at least three projectiles towards the eastern sea and a detailed analysis was being conducted.

Britain, Germany, France, Estonia and Belgium raised North Korea’s recent missile firings at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, calling them a provocative action that violated U.N. resolutions.

Pyongyang’s foreign ministry slammed the European action as “U.S.-instigated reckless behaviour”, and the sister of Kim Jong Un said the drills were not meant to threaten anyone.


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