The projectiles were launched “from the Sino-ri area, in an easterly direction, around 4:30 p.m.” local time on Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency quoted the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as saying in a statement.
No further details regarding the launches have been released yet.
Located in the southern parts of the North Pyongan Province, Sino-ri is around 77 kilometers northwest of capital, Pyongyang, and is where the North reportedly has a base of medium-range Nodong missiles.
On Saturday morning, the JCS reported similar launches from North Korea’s east coast town of Wonsan, saying that the projectiles flew about 70-100 kilometers over the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, before landing in the sea. On Sunday, Pyongyang confirmed the launches.
The “strike drill” on May 4, which was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, included the launch of rockets and at least one short-range ballistic missile.
N Korea says recent rocket drill ‘regular, self-defensive’Pyongyang says its recent rocket drills, which included the launch of a short-range ballistic missile, were for “self-defense”.
On Wednesday, Pyongyang said in a statement that the Saturday rocket drills had been part of the country’s “regular” and “self-defensive” military training and did not target anyone, noting that they also did not lead “to an aggravation of the situation in the region.”
North Korea has for years been under an array of harsh sanctions imposed by the US and the United Nations for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Last month, Kim told Russian President Vladimir Putin during their first meeting in Russia that the situation on the Korean Peninsula had reached a “critical point,” warning that peace and security on the peninsula would entirely depend on Washington’s future attitude.
The US has substantial military presence in the region.
Kim and US President Donald Trump held their first face-to-face nuclear talks in June last year in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides, however, made little progress, mainly because Washington refused to lift its crippling sanctions.
The two leaders also held their second summit in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, in February but reached an impasse as Washington demanded full disarmament and Pyongyang asked for economic incentives through partial lifting of harsh sanctions.
Washington has so far refused to offer any sanctions relief in return for several unilateral steps already taken by North Korea. Pyongyang has already suspended its missile and nuclear testing, demolished at least one nuclear test site, and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.