Artillery vehicle

North Korea fires artillery at sea days after missile launch

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA –
North Korea fired suspected artillery pieces into the sea on Sunday, the South Korean military said, days after the North’s latest missile launch failed amid the recent burst of military activity. weapons testing in the country.

There is speculation that North Korea could soon try to launch its developmental longer-range ballistic missile to bolster its arsenal and increase pressure on the United States to wrest concessions as negotiations remain stalled. . South Korea’s military has suggested that North Korea’s mid-air missile explosion last Wednesday involved parts of the Hwasong-17 missile, its biggest weapon.

On Sunday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it detected fire likely from several rocket-launching systems off North Korea’s west coast. The ministry said the military was closely monitoring North Korean movements and maintaining preparedness.

South Korea’s presidential office said in a separate statement that it had held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to discuss what it called the North’s “short-range projectile launches”.

Council members worked to analyze the details of the firings in close coordination with the United States, he said. The statement added that South Korea will use its enhanced military capacity and alliance with the United States to prevent a security vacuum from occurring during a period of power transition in Seoul.

President Moon Jae-in’s single five-year term ends in May and he will be replaced by a new conservative government led by Yoon Suk Yeol. A former high-ranking prosecutor, Yoon pledged to bolster Seoul’s military alliance with Washington and secure a stronger security commitment from the United States to neutralize growing North Korean nuclear threats.

Wednesday’s failed missile launch was the North’s 10th weapons launch this year. The U.S. and South Korean militaries said they concluded two of North Korea’s recent launches before Wednesday’s were for testing a Hwasong-17 system. North Korea later said the launches were designed to test cameras and other systems for a spy satellite.

Some outside experts say North Korea will likely fire a Hwasong-17 rocket to test its long-range missile technology and also to launch its first working spy satellite into orbit. The Hwasong-17’s potential maximum range of 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) would put the entire continental United States within its striking distance, and its enormous size suggests it can carry a larger payload or multiple nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-17 launch, if carried out, would be the North’s most serious provocation since the country conducted three intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017.

The South Korean government did not immediately reveal where Sunday’s gunfire took place. The Koreas’ poorly marked western maritime border saw naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009. Attacks blamed on North Korea in the area in 2010 killed 50 South Koreans – 46 on a warship and four on a border island.

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