North Korea fired an unidentified projectile on Thursday, according to the South Korean military, less than a week after leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and missiles.
“We confirm that North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile off towards eastern direction from Sinori area located in Northern Pyongan Province at around 03:30 a.m. ET/16:30 p.m. (local time),” a South Korean military official told NBC News on Thursday. The news agency also said that the chief national security advisor in South Korea is monitoring the situation.
Reuters reported, citing a South Korean official, that the projectile flew 420 km in an easterly direction. The Northern Pyongan Province is an area located to the west of the country.
Last week, North Korea launched a number of rockets and at least one short range missile from its east coast into the ocean. Thursday’s launch would be the third time North Korea has fired a missile since talks collapsed between President Donald Trump and Kim in February.
The two leaders met in Hanoi, Vietnam, to discuss the possibility of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but the talks ended abruptly without a deal. That summit had followed the historic meeting between Kim and Trump in Singapore last June. North Korea had pledged to cease its nuclear and long-range missile tests back in April 2018, but that promise was thrown into doubt when satellite images surfaced suggesting that a long-range missile test site was undergoing “rapid rebuilding.”
On Wednesday, North Korea’s foreign ministry commented on Saturday’s launch, saying the “strike drill” was “regular and self-defensive.”
“The recent drill conducted by our army is nothing more than part of the regular military training, and it has neither targeted anyone nor led to an aggravation of the situation in the region,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the state-run KCNA news agency.
The two launches in quick succession will likely accentuate tensions between Washington and Pyongyang and follow a meeting between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin last month. The Russian leader told reporters that Kim wanted to denuclearize but needed “security guarantees” to do so.
—Reuters and CNBC’s Jeff Daniels contributed to this article.