North Korea fired two projectiles into waters off the east of the Korean Peninsula Saturday evening, according to the South Korean military, the country’s 12th such weapon test this year.
The projectiles were fired from North Korea’s Hamhung area around 6 p.m., said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement on Sunday. The projectiles flew about 110 kilometers (about 68.3 miles) at an altitude of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), with a maximum speed of Mach 4.0 or lower, said the statement.
On Sunday, North Korean state media KCNA reported that the country’s leader Kim Jong Un had observed the test fire of a “new-type tactical guided weapon,” which was “carried out successfully.”
KCNA claimed the new weapon boosted the country’s “frontline long-range artillery units.”
Images published by North Korea state-owned newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed a smiling Kim clapping as he observed what it said was the test-firing of the new tactical weapon.
Immediately after the launch, South Korea’s military, intelligence agencies and National Security Office held an emergency meeting to assess the situation and discuss countermeasures, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement.
It added the United States-South Korea combined forces are monitoring North Korea in real time, and that all necessary measures were being taken.
North Korea has increased its missile tests this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in more than four years on March 24.
The ICBM was reported to be its most formidable yet – though missile experts and a South Korean military official later said it may have been a less advanced weapon than previously believed.
Saturday’s test also comes shortly before US-South Korea joint military drills, which are set to take place this month. North Korea has long condemned these joint drills as posing a grave threat to its security, accusing the US of a “hostile policy” toward the country.