North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles, South Korean authorities said. It would be the first test of this type of rocket since March this year and the second major rocket test in less than a week.
The Japanese coast guard also says it has sighted two missiles. The missiles would have landed in the sea. No details are known. South Korean and American intelligence agencies are investigating.
“It is a disgrace and a threat to the peace and security of our country and the region,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “It also violates United Nations Security Council resolutions, so we strongly protest and condemn this action.” The United Nations prohibits North Korea from firing ballistic missiles. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for a meeting of the National Security Council.
The launch comes as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Seoul for talks with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong over concerns over last weekend’s missile test. At the time, it was a new type of cruise missile that North Korea itself described as a “strategic weapon of great importance”.
Before breaking news of the new launches, Chung pledged to continue promoting peace with North Korea and expressed hope that China would assist his country. Wang said he hoped all countries would do their part to bring “peace and stability to the Korean peninsula”.
Talks took place to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions but stalled in 2019. On Tuesday, the main nuclear negotiators of South Korea, the US and Japan met in Tokyo. There, they expressed their unanimity on the need to continue dialogue with North Korea and continue to look for ways to break the deadlock with the country. China, North Korea’s main ally, has also pressured the country to dismantle its nuclear programs.