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North Korea fires 2 short-range missiles off its east coast – Seoul

North Korea fires 2 short-range missiles off its east coast – Seoul
Two missiles have been fired from a launch point in the Hodo Peninsula, in the eastern part of North Korea, the South Korean military has said. The projectiles are believed to be short-range ballistic missiles.

The launch took place early Wednesday morning, Yonhap reported citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The JSC said that the missiles were test-fired within a span of 20 minutes at the Wonson area. Both flew for about 250 kilometers at an altitude around 30 kilometers before plunging into the sea.

While it was initially reported that the missiles might be of a new type never deployed by the North before, a JSC official later said that the projectiles appear to be similar to those Pyongyang launched last week. The South Korean military is now studying the flight path to identify them.

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The authorities in Seoul have convened the National Security Council (NSC) to look into the incident. The JSC said the South Korean military maintains a “readiness posture” in case of any further launches.

The reported missile tests come less than a week after Pyongyang test-fired a couple of short-range ballistic missiles. Touted by North Korea as a “new-type tactical guided weapon,” the missiles flew for around 430 kilometers before splashing into the Sea of Japan. 

North Korea ended a two-year pause in missile tests in May, with a series of short-range launches. While some US military hawks have sounded the alarm over those missiles, US President Donald Trump brushed them off as “some small weapons” that may bother some of his “people,” but not him.

Trump’s denuclearization talks with North Korea remain in limbo, with Pyongyang refusing to give up its nuclear program before Washington lifts its economic sanctions and the US insisting that a “complete and irreversible” denuclearization must come first.

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Talks broke down at the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Trump in Vietnam in February. Their historic but brief meet-up at the demilitarized zone in late June has not helped revive the process. 

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hopes “working-level discussions” on the issue could take place “very soon.” He added that there were no plans for a third Trump-Kim summit, however.

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