North Korea fires more missiles as South begins joint drill with US

  06 August 2019    Read: 850
  North Korea fires more missiles as South begins joint drill with US

North Korea has fired two unidentified missiles, its fourth such launch in less than two weeks, South Korea's military has said, reported citing BBC News. 

They were fired from South Hwanghae province across the peninsula into the sea to the east, a statement said.

The North again expressed anger at US-South Korean military drills that began on Monday.

It says they violate agreements reached with US President Donald Trump and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in.

While the main drills will start on 11 August, low-key preparation has begun.

The US said it was monitoring the situation and consulting with South Korea and Japan.

Late on Monday, Washington introduced travel restrictions on people who have visited North Korea. Anyone who would normally be eligible for the US visa waiver programme will now have to apply for a US visa if they have visited North Korea in the last eight years.

The new policy affects tourists from most European countries as well as Australia, New Zealand, and several Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

A statement released by North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday does not mention the missile launches but it claims that the military drills in the South essentially force it to develop and test new weapons.

Given the drills in the South, "we are compelled to develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defence," the statement said.

It also described the exercise as "an undisguised denial and a flagrant violation" of the recent talks between the US and North Korea (DPRK).

"We have already warned several times that the joint military exercises would block progress in the DPRK-US relations and the inter-Korean relations and bring us into reconsideration of our earlier major steps," the statement warns.

According to South Korea's military, the North's launches on Tuesday appear to be short-range ballistic missiles, flying 450km (280 miles) at an altitude of 37km.

Over the past two weeks, the North test-fired what South Korean officials said appeared to have been a new type of short-range missile.

Last Friday, two missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

On Wednesday, the North launched two missiles that flew 250km and reached a height of 30km before landing in the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea.

On 25 July, the North had fired two other missiles, one of which travelled about 690km.

That was the first launch since President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held an impromptu meeting in June at the demilitarised zone (DMZ), an area that divides the two Koreas, where they agreed to restart denuclearisation talks.

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