State-run Korean Central News Agency reported that on Saturday, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un supervised the testing of long range multiple rocket launchers as well as tactical guided weapons as part of the regime’s military engagement drills:
“The purpose of the drill was to estimate and inspect the operating ability and the accuracy of striking duty performance of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons by defense units in the frontline area and on the eastern front.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the short-range missiles were fired from the Hodo peninsula in the east of the country.
South Korean officials said several short-range projectiles flew 70 to 200 kilometers (43 to 124 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan.
The launches took place between 9:06 a.m and 9:27 a.m. local time Saturday (8:06 p.m. to 8:27 ET Friday).
South Korea’s Presidential Spokeswoman disclosed the country’s concern with Pyongyang’s move:
“We are very concerned about the North’s latest action,” and added “that the move violates an inter-Korean military agreement.”
“We expect North Korea to actively join efforts towards the fast resumption of denuclearization talks.”
The Presidential Spokeswoman had just concluded a meeting with the country’s defense minister, presidential security advisors and intelligence chief.
Analysts believe that the test-fires could further trigger tensions between the United States and North Korea. In February, President Donald Trump walked away from what he described as a bad deal offered by Kim Jong-un in Vietnam summit.
President Trump tweeted his view on the matter:
“I believe that Kim Jong-Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”
South Korea’s Defense Ministry stated that “our military maintains a solid ROK-US combined defense posture and supports the ongoing diplomatic efforts with a powerful force.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Saturday that “we are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight. We will continue to monitor as necessary.”