North Korea Tests Two Short-Range Missiles

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un supervises a “strike drill” for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, May 4, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

North Korea launched “two short-range missiles” early Thursday morning, conducting its second weapons test in less than a week, South Korea’s military said.

The missiles, which had a range of approximately 420 kilometers and 270 kilometers, were fired at 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. local time, a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“The US and South Korean intelligence authority is conducting analysis for additional information,” the JCS said. “Our military has currently heightened its surveillance and alertness against possible additional launches, whilst maintaining combat readiness in close coordination with the US.

The missiles had an altitude of about 50 kilometers and landed in the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.

The two recent launches were the first the North has ventured since November 2017. They have further complicated denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea, after President Trump’s February summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was cut short when negotiations reached a stalemate.

The North’s tests have also strained relations with South Korea, with whom they agreed a year ago at a highly anticipated summit to “make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.”

North Korea’s missile tests tapered off after the initial summit between Trump and Kim in June of last year, the first between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader, but have become more frequent as the U.S. has rejected the regime’s demands, including the removal of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a complete lifting of U.S. sanctions on the country.

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