PYONGYANG: North Korea conducted its second weapons test in less than a week Wednesday, firing two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast. Observers say the move could be aimed at boosting pressure on the United States as the rivals struggle to set up fresh nuclear talks.
U.S. officials told its media outlet that the weapons fired Wednesday appeared very similar to ones launched six days ago – which were nuclear-capable, and would be difficult for defense systems to track and destroy. The U.S. has had little or no warning of recent North Korean short-range tests, a U.S. official told CBS News.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missiles were launched from Wonsan, a city the North pushes as a vacation destination but that it also uses as a regular launch site. It said both missiles were believed to have flown about 155 miles at a maximum altitude of 19 miles and that the South Korean and U.S. militaries were trying to gather more details.
The test was yet another North Korean violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and comes as the country’s negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear weapons program are at a stalemate and as Pyongyang has expressed anger over planned U.S.-South Korean military drills.
Last Thursday North Korea fired two short-range missiles in what state-run media called a “solemn warning” to “South Korean military warmongers.”
South Korean officials said last week’s launch involved a new type of a short-range ballistic missile. That was the first launch by North Korea since Kim Jong Un and President Trump met at the Demilitarized Zone in June and Mr. Trump took a few historic steps across the border into North Korea. Mr. Trump told Fox News last week that he was “getting along well” with Kim and said the country “really haven’t tested missiles other than smaller ones.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said no new high-level talks between U.S. and North Korean officials are currently scheduled.