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North Korea fires three weapons after threats of ‘momentous’ action

It is the second set of weapons testing from Pyongyang in the last 10 days and followed a four-month hiatus.

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People watch a TV showing file images of North Korea’s missile launch (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

People watch a TV showing file images of North Korea’s missile launch (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

People watch a TV showing file images of North Korea’s missile launch (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

North Korea fired three short-range projectiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military has said.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the three launches were made from an town in the South Hamgyong province with missiles flying as far as 125 miles.

It is the second set of weapons testing from Pyongyang in the last 10 days and followed a four-month hiatus.

The previous round of testing was condemned by five European members of the UN Security Council, to which North Korea said: “The reckless behaviour of these countries instigated by the US will become a fuse that will trigger our yet another momentous reaction.”

The coronavirus is likely exceeding North Korea’s public health capacity, so Kim Jong-un is playing a two-level game

Some experts have said North Korea may intend to catch South Korea off balance before seeking help in reviving its dilapidated economy, since the US has said sanctions on North Korea will stay in place unless it takes significant steps toward denuclearisation.

Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University, said: “The coronavirus is likely exceeding North Korea’s public health capacity, so Kim Jong-un is playing a two-level game.

“At the domestic level, his regime claims to protect the people with drastic quarantine measures and military exercises against external threats,

“Pyongyang may be seeking international assistance, but remains obsessed with not appearing in an inferior position to Seoul.”

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Ahn Young Joon/AP)

Nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington remain stalled since the second summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in early 2019 ended without any agreement.

Subsequent talks between the two countries failed to produce much progress amid disputes over how much sanctions relief should be given in return for a limited step to move away from nuclear weapons by North Korea.

PA