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(LEAD) N. Korea fires 2 unidentified projectiles into East Sea: JCS

All Headlines 09:29 August 16, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more details throughout, photo)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Friday, South Korea's military said, the sixth such launch in about three weeks.

The projectiles were fired from its eastern coastal county of Tongchon in Kangwon Province earlier in the day, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). No other details were immediately known, including their type, flight range and maximum altitude.

"Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS said in a brief release.

This composite photo, released by the North's Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 11, 2019, shows the test-firing of missiles, one day after their launch from the eastern North Korean coastal city of Hamhung. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Friday's launch came six days after North Korea fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea. It was the sixth such launch since July 25 when it fired two newly developed short-range missiles codenamed KN-23.

The latest launch followed harsh rhetoric against South Korea earlier in the day.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country issued a statement in which it lashed out at President Moon Jae-in for his address a day earlier marking Liberation Day from Japan's colonial rule, claiming that his usage of such terms as "worrisome acts" and "provocation" by North Korea is "reckless."

Pyongyang also denounced South Korea's ongoing joint military exercise with the U.S. and the recent announcement of its five-year defense plan, all of which "are aimed at destroying" the North, adding that, "We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again."

North Korea has repeatedly issued warnings against the combined military exercise between South Korea and the U.S., threatening that it would seek "a new way" rather than engagement if Seoul goes ahead with such a rehearsal for invasion.

In a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also voiced his displeasure with the joint military exercises.

Expressing his "small apology for testing the short-range missiles," Kim told Trump that such saber-rattling would stop when the exercises end, according to Trump.

Saying that such drills are defensive in nature, Seoul and Washington said that the ongoing exercise that kicked off in earnest on Monday for a 10-day program is meant to test South Korea's operational capabilities for the conditions-based transition of wartime operational control of combined forces from Washington to Seoul.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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