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(2nd LD) N. Korea fires 2 projectiles, apparently from super-large multiple rocket launcher: JCS

Defense 19:10 November 28, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest info; ADDS details in paras 2-6, photo)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired two projectiles from what is presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher on Thursday, South Korea's military said, in the latest in a series of military moves amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.

The projectiles were fired from Yeonpo in the country's eastern South Hamgyong Province into the waters off the east coast at around 4:59 p.m., the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a release.

Both flew around 380 km, reaching a maximum altitude of around 97 km, and were fired within a 30-second interval, the JCS added.

"South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing additional features," the JCS said. "Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture."

The JCS expressed "strong regret" about the launches, saying they will not help efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"Our military expresses strong regret over the acts and urge North Korea to immediately stop such moves," Maj. Gen. Jeong Dong-jin of the JCS told reporters.

It is the 13th time this year that North Korea has carried out such a weapons test, with the last test-firing taking place on Oct. 31, when it fired two missiles from its super-large multiple rocket launcher towards the East Sea.

In previous tests this year, the North launched new types of short-range missiles, including its version of Russia's Iskander, as well as a upgraded version of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), Pukguksong-3.

A projectile mounted on a super-large multiple rocket launcher is launched from North Korea's western region toward the East Sea on Oct. 31, 2019, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the next day. According to the KCNA, the North successfully tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher, verifying the "perfection" of the weapons system. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Further heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the communist country carried out firing drills involving coastal guns on its border islet of Changrin in the Yellow Sea on Saturday under the guidance of leader Kim Jong-un.

The Seoul government sent a message to Pyongyang to protest the moves strongly and urged it to stop such acts, but the North has given no response.

In an apparent sign of ramped-up surveillance of the North, the United States flew three spy aircraft -- EP-3E, RC-135V and E-8C jets -- over the Korean Peninsula in succession for two days from Wednesday.

The military moves by the North came amid a lack of progress in the North's denuclearization talks with the U.S. Pyongyang has given Washington until the end of the year to put forward a new proposal that could break the deadlock, saying that otherwise it will be compelled to give up on negotiations and choose to take a "new way."

Washington has called on Pyongyang engage in dialogue, but the North has been dragging its feet while renewing calls on the U.S. to drop its "hostile" policy toward it.

Putting his hand on military equipment believed to be a coastal gun, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (3rd from L) talks with soldiers during a visit to a defense detachment on Changrin Islet near the western sea border with South Korea, in this photo provided by the Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 25, 2019. The agency stopped short of reporting when he made the visit. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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