Sixth launch in three weeks since July 25 is to protest U.S.-ROK military drills
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired two unidentified short-range projectiles on Friday, shortly after Pyongyang described the president of Republic of Korea as "impudent" and vowed that inter-Korean talks are over.
The projectiles were fired from the DPRK's eastern coastal county of Tongchon earlier in the day, and flew around 230 kilometers to an altitude of 30 km, according to the ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited by the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency.
"Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS said in a news release.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said it did not see any imminent security threat from the latest projectile launch.
An anonyms official from the United States said initial information indicated at least one projectile was fired by the DPRK and appeared to be similar to the short-range missiles fired in previous weeks, according to a Reuters report.
Li Chengri, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the launch, which was the sixth in three weeks since July 25, was the DPRK's protest at the ongoing U.S.-ROK military drills, lasting from Aug 11 to 20.
The scholar said Pyongyang also wants to take some initiatives for future DPRK-U.S. talks by testing new weapons. "On the other hand, this was an action that Pyongyang arranged following its need of military development to test some new equipment."
The launch expressed the DPRK's frustration over stalemated nuclear talks with the U.S. as well as the U.S.-ROK drills that DPRK sees as an invasion rehearsal, an AP report said.
Chung Eui-yong, a top national security adviser for ROK President Moon Jae-in, held an emergency meeting of the National Security Office right after the test-firings, according to the presidential Blue House.
The security office urged the DPRK to stop firing short-range projectiles as the launches can escalate military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
In a televised Liberation Day address on Thursday, Moon said that a momentum for dialogue remains alive despite the series of "worrying actions" taken by the DPRK recently, calling for Pyongyang to choose "economic prosperity over its nuclear program".
The spokesperson of the DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country described Moon as an "impudent guy" who is "overcome with fright", and his comments would make a "boiled head of a cow fall into a side-splitting laughter", according to the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency.
The statement also criticized the ROK's recent acquisition of advanced U.S.-made fighter jets and said it would be "senseless" for Moon to believe that inter-Korean dialogue will automatically begin after the end of the ongoing U.S.-ROK drills.
"The implementation of the historic Panmunjom declaration is now at a deadlock and the power for the north-south dialogue is divested," the statement said, adding that the DPRK has nothing to talk about with the ROK authorities any more or have any plans to sit with them again.
Pyongyang had said it would talk only with Washington and not Seoul, and that inter-Korean dialogue won't resume unless the ROK offers a "plausible excuse" on why it keeps hosting military drills with the U.S.
Li said the strongly worded statement has shown the DPRK's great dissatisfaction to ROK authorities of not making significant progress in the development of the promised series of cultural and economic exchanges between the two sides.