North Korea fires more missiles than ever, amid coronavirus outbreak

North Korea fires'unidentified projectile: Report

Two "short-range projectiles" were launched from the coastal Wonsan area, and flew 230 kilometres at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometres, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff reported.

"North Korea fired an unidentified projectile in the direction of Sea of Japan", South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) statement reads.

The military is closely monitoring the situation while maintaining a readiness posture, it said.

South Korea's military described the launches as "very inappropriate" amid the coronavirus outbreak and urged North Korea to stop such military action.

North Korea is conducting military drills this month, which are frequently overseen by leader Kim Jong Un.

Experts and officials say the North's recent military moves appear to be primarily aimed at strengthening his grip on power amid fears of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and economic difficulties caused by the prolonged global sanctions regime.

Pyongyang has yet to report a single case of the deadly virus that has infected over 663,000 people worldwide, including almost 10,000 in neighbouring South Korea and over 82,000 in China.

The nuclear talks have remained stalled since the breakdown of a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Vietnam in early 2019.

In his New Year's Day message, leader Kim warned he will show off a "new strategic weapon" in the near future, which experts said may mean an advanced type of its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or an SLBM.

The last test launch was on March 21.

They also sharply criticized Pyongyang's decision to carry out the launch - particularly in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many foreign experts question that claim, warning that an outbreak in North Korea could be dire because of its chronic lack of medical supplies and poor healthcare infrastructure. A North Korean state media dispatch did not say whether Trump mentioned any of the latest weapon tests by the North.

United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, and the country has been heavily sanctioned over its missile and nuclear weapons programs.



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