On July 31st, North Korea tested two more short-range ballistic missiles off its coast, South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported.
The first missile was launched at 5:06 a.m., and the second at 5:27 a.m., from the Kalma area in the North’s eastern port of Wonsan, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
Both flew about 250 km at an altitude of about 30 km, reportedly the US and South Korean militaries were analyzing details, but CNN reported that an unnamed US official said that the launches were no threat to the US or its allies and simply fell to the sea.
But South Korea’s JCS warned in a statement that North Korea’s repeated missile launches did “not aid in efforts to ease the tension on the Korean Peninsula.”
“We call for cessation of these actions,” the statement added.
The Blue House, the South Korean presidential office, said in a statement that officials had held an emergency National Security Council meeting on the same morning, in relation to the launch.
The launches come six days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the same area into the East Sea for the first time since May.
The July 31st, launch according to the South Korean JSC was carried out from a transporter erector launcher (TEL), as was the case with the previous launch.
On July 25th, those missiles flew some 600 kilometers at an altitude of around 50 km and were identified as “KN-23,” or the North’s version of Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile.
The previous launch was confirmed on July 26th with a report from North Korean state outlet KCNA.
“Supreme Leader of the Party, state and armed forces Kim Jong Un personally organized and guided the fire of the new-type tactical guided weapon as part of the power demonstration to send a solemn warning to the south Korean military warmongers who are running high fever in their moves to introduce the ultramodern offensive weapons into south Korea and hold military exercise in defiance of the repeated warnings from the DPRK.”
The outlet, further expressed Kim Jong-un’s discontent at South Korea’s continuous aggressive actions and that North Korea couldn’t keep up in developing weapons, to answer the frequency of threats presented by Seoul.
“He said that the south Korean authorities show such strange double-dealing behavior as acting a “handshake of peace” and fingering joint declaration and agreement and the like before the world people and, behind the scene, shipping ultra-modern offensive weapons and holding joint military exercises. He emphasized that we cannot but develop nonstop super powerful weapon systems to remove the potential and direct threats to the security of our country that exist in the south.”
South Korea held a National Security Council (NSC) meeting and expressed “strong” concerns over the launches, urging Pyongyang to stop acts that could heighten tensions and hamper efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said that North Korea’s latest missile firings are not helpful in easing military tensions or in keeping the momentum for denuclearization talks.
Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo earlier said that North Korea should be regarded as an “enemy” if it carries out provocations that threaten South Korea.
“North Korea’s regime and military are of course included in the concept of an enemy if they threaten and provoke us,” he said.
Yonhap, which is an outlet infamous for its continuous anti-North Korea propaganda, claimed that an anonymous US State Department spokesperson gave them a comment:
“We are aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Regardless, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US was hopeful talks with Pyongyang would restart “soon.”
On board his flight to Bangkok for a series of ASEAN meetings, he said that he wasn’t sure when they would restart, but it wouldn’t be “too long.”
Trump and Kim agreed to resume working-level negotiations after their meeting, the two sides have not publicly announced any scheduled talks.
“Chairman Kim said when the two leaders met at the DMZ that they would start in a few weeks. It’s taking a little bit longer than that, there’s been a little bit of preliminary work to be done but I hope … before too long we’ll have special representative (Stephen) Biegun sitting with what I think will be his new counterpart for North Korea,” Pompeo said.
In addition, on July 31st, Yonhap reported that the mysterious North Korean submarine that was presented on July 23rd is allegedly capable of carrying 3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The defense ministry determined that the North’s submarine is ready to be deployed soon, Rep. Lee Hye-hoon, the chief of the parliamentary intelligence committee, told reporters.
The ministry said the North’s sub appears to be slightly larger than a 2,500-ton Gorae-class submarine.
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- North Korea Test Fires Two Short-Range Missiles, After Revelation Of Alleged Ballistic Missile Submarine