Published: 09:20, March 9, 2020 | Updated: 06:48, June 6, 2023
ROK: DPRK test-fired short-range projectiles
By Xinhua

People watch a TV showing a file image of an unspecified missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 9, 2020. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

NEW YORK/SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) test-fired short-range projectiles into the East Sea on Monday in what was believed to be part of ongoing firing drills, the Republic of Korea (ROK)'s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The JCS said in a statement that the ROK military detected short-range projectiles of multiple types, which were launched northeastward from areas near the DPRK's eastern town of Sondok in South Hamgyong province at about 7:36 am local time.

The projectiles included artillery fired from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and flew up to 200 km and reached 50 km in altitude, according to ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff

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The projectiles flew as far as around 200 km at a maximum altitude of some 50 km. ROK and US intelligence authorities were analyzing further details, the JCS said.

The JCS noted that the launches were seen as the part of the DPRK's joint strike exercises, involving multiple rocket launchers of multiple types, for a wintertime drill following the previous ones on Feb 28 and March 2.

A week earlier, the DPRK fired two short-range projectiles, which traveled about 240 km at an altitude of some 35 km, into the eastern waters.

The JCS said the ROK military was closely monitoring relevant situations in preparation for possible further launches while maintaining a thorough defense readiness.

It expressed "strong regret" over DPRK's projectile launches, adding that such acts run counter to the basic spirit of the inter-Korean military agreement in which the two sides agreed on defusing military tensions and building trust on the Korean Peninsula.

The military agreement was signed during the third summit betweenROK President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un that was held in Pyongyang in September 2018.

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ROK's national security advisor Chung Eui-yong held a video meeting with the defense minister and intelligence chief to analyze DPRK's latest test and intent, the presidential Blue House said.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said the projectiles appeared to be ballistic missiles and did not fall into Japan's exclusive economic zone, though the government was examining details about the launch.

With Reuters inputs