Seoul, South Korea – North Korea fired an unidentified projectile off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, two days after the North claimed it had tested a new missile in its first weapons test in six months.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that a North Korean projectile flew into the waters off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday. It gave no further details, and it was unclear what the projectile was.
North Korea said on Monday that it tested a newly developed cruise missile twice over the weekend. North Korea’s state media described the missiles as a “strategic weapon of great importance”, implying that they were developed with the intention of arming them with a nuclear warhead.
FILE – North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Pyongyang General Hospital in North Korea on March 17, 2020.
Many experts say the North Korean test suggested North Korea is pushing to strengthen its weapons arsenal amid a standoff in nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
The latest launch came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Seoul with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and other senior officials to discuss stalled nuclear diplomacy with the North.
Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since 2019, when Americans rejected the North’s demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling an old nuclear facility. Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s proposals for talks, demanding that Washington first drop its “hostile” policies.
The prospect of resuming the North’s testing activity after Kim failed to leverage his arsenal for economic gains during Donald Trump’s presidency is an attempt to pressure the Biden administration over the diplomatic freeze.