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North Korea fires 2 projectiles: Seoul

N. Korea missile firing

Seoul, March 21 (UITV/IANS)- North Korea on Saturday fired two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the latest in a series of such launches this month.

The projectiles were fired northeastward from areas near its western county of Sonchon in North Pyongan province at 6.45 a.m. and 6.50 a.m., respectively, the JCS said, adding that they flew around 410 k, reaching a maximum altitude of around 50 km, reports Yonhap News Agency.

"South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analyzing other specifics," the authorities said.

"Our military is monitoring the situation in case there are additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture."

Calling the launch "a very inappropriate act" at a time when the whole world has been facing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the JCS called on the regime to immediately halt such military moves.

It is the third time that the North has carried out such weapons tests so far this year after they began in March following months of hiatus, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The last such test took place on March 9 when it fired at least three short-range projectiles believed to have come from a super-large multiple rocket launcher, which came a week after the firing of two short-range projectiles of the same type, according to the JCS.

It was not immediately known if leader Kim Jong-un guided the latest firing, but officers hinted at the possibility.

According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday, North Korea held an "artillery fire competition" of its army on its western front the previous day under Kim's watch.

The previous rounds, which occurred from its eastern regions under Kim's guidance, appear to have been part of its artillery strike drill for the wintertime exercise, JCS officers said, noting that the drill was likely to continue throughout this month.

Throughout 2019, North Korea carried out a total of 13 rounds of weapons tests, including the latest one in November, involving several new types of short-range ballistic missiles and a submarine-launched ballistic missile.