Seoul, Aug 24: North Korea launched two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Saturday morning, the South Korean military said. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the projectiles were fired at 6.45 am and 7.02 am from the eastern town of Sondok in South Hamgyong Province into the East Sea, and both flew around 380 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 97 km and a top speed of around Mach 6.5.
"Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture," Yonhap News Agency quoted JCS as saying. This is the seventh missile test, conducted by North Korea since July 25. The previous tests were conducted on July 25, on July 31, August 2, August 6, August 10 and August 16.
The North Korea is believed to use these launches to test new types of short-range missiles, including its versions of the Iskander and the US' Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). "We're open to all possibilities. North Korea could have fired one of those newly developed missiles by tuning their altitude. But we don't rule out the possibility that it test-fired a fresh type today," a military officer said.
The peak altitude of the previous projectiles launched by the North this year had ranged from 25 km to 60 km. The tests came after South Korea decided on Thursday to terminate an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan under which both nations shared tracking data on missiles fired by the North Korea. The South Korea's decision to abandon the agreement takes effect in 90 days.
Seoul and Tokyo signed the agreement in late 2016 after years of urging from Washington, which wanted its two key Asian allies to work more closely to confront North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile threats and China’s growing influence in the region.UNI