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(2nd LD) N. Korea fires 1 unidentified projectile: JCS

North Korea 08:28 September 28, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest info; ADDS more details in paras 2-4, 11-13)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired one unidentified projectile into the East Sea on Tuesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, just days after Pyongyang held out the prospect of an inter-Korean summit if the South drops "double standards."

The projectile was fired from an inland area eastward at around 6:40 a.m., the JCS said, adding that the South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing the launch for additional information.

It did not specify if the projectile is a ballistic missile.

"Our military is closely monitoring the related moves in coordination with the U.S. and maintaining a readiness posture in preparation for additional launches," the JCS said in a release.

The launch came three days after Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said that the North could declare a formal end to the Korean War as suggested by the South and even discuss the possibility of a summit on conditions that Seoul drops its double standards and hostile attitudes against it.

The North has long accused South Korea and the United States of double standards, claiming it makes no sense for them to denounce the North's missile launches and other weapons tests as banned "provocations" when they are free to conduct such tests.

Tuesday's launch could be designed to test whether the South would still brand it as a provocation.

North Korea is banned from all ballistic missile activities under the United Nations Security Council resolutions, though Pyongyang has claimed they are aimed at beefing up self-defense against threats posed by South Korea and the United States.

If the projectile is confirmed to be a ballistic missile, it would mark the third such launch so far this year, and the sixth known major weapons test if test-firings of cruise missiles are taken into account.

On Sept. 15, the North test-fired two short-range missiles, believed to be its version of the Iskander, into the East Sea, which came just days after launching a new type of cruise missile.

Pyongyang warned of a "major security crisis" last month in protest against the combined summertime military exercise between South Korea and the U.S. The North has long denounced such drills as a rehearsal for invasion, though Seoul and Washington have said they are defensive in nature.

North Korea has also lashed out at South Korea for its introduction of advanced military assets. Earlier this week, South Korea successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile from a new submarine, becoming the world's seventh nation to have proven field operation capabilities of the system.

South Korea also unveiled the development of a supersonic cruise missile in response to the North's evolving missile threats.

Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled. The Joe Biden government has said it is ready to hold talks with the North anywhere, at anytime, but the communist country has remained unresponsive to the U.S. overtures.

In this photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 16, 2021, the North's "railway-borne missile regiment" appears to launch a short-range ballistic missile from a train during a firing drill in a central mountainous area of the North a day earlier. North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast on Sept. 15, according to South Korean military authorities. Pak Jong-chon, who has been promoted to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, guided the latest drills, along with other top officials. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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