New York Times
North Korea fired a projectile toward the east on Thursday, its second such weapons test in less than a week, the South Korean military said.
The launch came just five days after North Korea fired several short-range projectiles off its east coast. They flew 70 to 200 kilometers before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan, the South Korean military said then in a statement.
Thursday’s projectile was launched from Sino-ri, about 50 miles northwest of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean military said in a statement. It gave no further details, including what type of projectile was launched or how far it flew.
The North’s missile base in Sino-ri is believed to operate Rodong short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Some Western missile experts say the Sino-ri base may have played a role in the development of the North’s Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile, which was first tested in February 2017. Unlike most of the North Korean ballistic missiles, the Pukguksong-2 uses solid fuel, making it easier to transport and hide and faster to launch.
“The Sino-ri missile operating base and the Rodong missiles deployed at this location fit into North Korea’s presumed nuclear military strategy by providing an operational-level nuclear or conventional first-strike capability against targets located both throughout the Korean Peninsula and in most of Japan,” analysts of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said in a paper in January.
The launches come about two months after the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, met for the second time with President Trump, hoping to win relief from punishing sanctions in return for a partial dismantlement of his country’s nuclear weapons program. But that meeting, in Hanoi, Vietnam, collapsed after Mr. Trump refused to lift sanctions until North Korea relinquished all its nuclear weapons.
North Korea’s latest weapon test came while Stephen Biegun, President Trump’s point man on North Korea, was in Seoul for talks with South Korean officials on how to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table. Mr. Biegun has been widely expected to discuss humanitarian food aid that South Korea plans to provide as an incentive for North Korea to resume dialogue.
In the launches on Saturday, North Korea fired off between 10 and 20 short-range projectiles, including rockets fired from multiple-launch tubes, and what analysts said appeared to be a new short-range ballistic missile, according to South Korean lawmakers briefed by military officials.