Pyongyang has reportedly carried out another weapons test, with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying that the reclusive nation launched two ballistic missiles on Tuesday, as cited by Reuters.
The reported missile test took place around 10:17am local time on Tuesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported. The South Korean military said at least one missile was fired from a launch site near the North Korean port city of Sinpo in central South Hamgyong Province.
There have been few other details about the launch, with Seoul’s military noting that they have been conducting a “thorough analysis” of the situation together with their US counterparts. South Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily reported that the projectile may have been a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), citing a military official. The source pointed out that Sinpo is home to a naval base, which serves as a testing site for submarines and missiles.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government has reported that not one, but two missiles appeared to have been fired by Pyongyang, with Japanese PM Kishida calling the tests “very regrettable,” according to Reuters.
The launch comes on the eve of a trilateral meeting between South Korean, US and Japanese spy chiefs in Seoul, which was reportedly set for Tuesday, and is to feature US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Park Jie-won, as well as Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence Director Hiroaki Takizawa.
The officials are expected to discuss the security situation on the peninsula as well as a recent proposal by South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the US, North Korea and South Korea to sign a peace declaration to formally end the 1950-1953 war. The proposal made by Moon during his speech at the UN General Assembly last month seemingly struck a chord with Pyongyang’s leadership. Sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong, described it as an “interesting and good idea,” but noted that she was expressing her “personal opinion.”
While Pyongyang has shown no intention of giving up its missile tests, conducting a series of launches, including of a long-range cruise missile and an alleged “hypersonic” glider vehicle since September, there have been signs of an emerging thaw between Seoul and Pyongyang.
Earlier this month, the Koreas reopened a cross-border communication hotline, with Kim saying that his country has “neither aim nor reason” to provoke its southern neighbor.
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