September 17, 2021

North Korea fires two ballistic missiles - days after testing 'weapon of great significance'

September 15, 2021

North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles - just a few days after another test, South Korea has said.

They flew towards the peninsula's east coast on Wednesday, according to South Korea's joint chiefs of staff.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the launch "outrageous", but authorities said the missiles landed outside its economic waters.

Ballistic missiles can be used to carry large nuclear warheads.

Hours after the North's launch, South Korea's said it had conducted its first underwater-launched test of a ballistic missile.

It said the missile had been fired from a 3,000-tonne submarine on Wednesday afternoon, hitting a designated target.

The country's presidential office said it would help Seoul deter any external threats and promote peace in the region.

The tit-for-tat launches come as China's foreign minister was in South Korea to discuss nuclear diplomacy - and two days after the North said it had fired a new long-range cruise missile.

On Monday, the country said it had tested a new cruise missile twice over the weekend and called it "a strategic weapon of great significance".

The missile hit targets 932 miles away and flew different patterns, said state media.

It was North Korea's first known testing activity since March, when it launched a new short-range tactical missile.

The country also conducted a cruise missile test just after US President Joe Biden took office in January.

And last month, the United Nations said North Korea appeared to have restarted a nuclear reactor, potentially producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Talks over North Korea's nuclear disarmament have floundered since Donald Trump's second meeting with Kim Jong Un in 2019, when the former US president rejected a request for major sanctions relief.

Kim Jong Un has so far rejected the Biden administration's moves for dialogue, demanding Washington's "hostile" policies are dropped first.

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