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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
Update at 13:30 KST: more details about Friday morning’s test can be found here.
North Korea on Friday morning launched multiple projectiles towards its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
In a statement, the JCS said the DPRK had launched the “unidentified projectiles” towards the country’s east coast in the vicinity of Tongchon, Kangwon Province this morning.
“Our military has maintained readiness posture while tracking and monitoring the relevant movement in preparation for additional launch,” it continued.
South Korea’s Presidential National Security Office (NSO) held an “emergency meeting” of its standing committee at 0900 local time, the Blue House said.
NSO director Chung Eui-yong led the meeting, the Blue House continued, adding that President Moon Jae-in was briefed on the issue “immediately” after the North’s test-launch of the projectiles.
The U.S. State Department in a response said it was “aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea” and would continue to monitor the situation.
“We are consulting closely with our allies in South Korea and Japan,” a spokesperson said.
The launch is Pyongyang’s sixth since June 25, and follows a test of what DPRK state media described as a “superior tactical” weapon on Saturday.
It appears to be the North’s first from the Tongchon area, according to the NK Pro missile tracker, which lies just over 50 kilometers from the inter-Korean border.
The test also comes just hours after a statement from the DPRK ruling party’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) rejected ROK President Moon Jae-in’s Liberation Day calls for the two Koreas to return to dialogue.
“We have nothing to talk any more with the south Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” the remarks said, accusing South Korea of raising military tensions through a series of joint drills and recent acquisition of new military hardware from the U.S.
Read in light of that statement, one expert said, Friday’s test is likely aiming to send a message to Seoul.
“Combined with the sharp statement slamming Moon’s August 15th speech, this seems like a very defiant message,” Ankit Panda, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told NK News. “The launch site appears closer to the DMZ too.”
The test took place in the vicinity of Tongchon, on the DPRK’s east coast
Featured image: KCNA, file photo