North Korea launched two unidentified projectiles into the eastern sea after months-long hiatus on March 1, confirmed the South Korean military. The projectiles were launched from an area near Wonsan, a port town east of Pyongyang, but the range and type of weapon have not been identified.
According to North’s state media, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un recently supervised an artillery drill after threatening the United States of “shocking” actions against the sanctions imposed by Washington. He had also warned of further testing of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles saying North Korea was not “unilaterally bound” to a self-imposed suspension.
In the wake of crippling sanctions from the United States, Pyongyang had threatened Washington of unspecified action, calling it a ‘Christmas gift’. Speculations were rife that North Korea might test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead but the ‘gift’ eluded Washington on Christmas.
The warning led to a war of words and the US raised concerns about North’s indication of intercontinental ballistic missile tests which will bring the country in its range. US Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft said at a security council meeting that the US has sought to engage in “robust diplomacy with the DPRK”, but the signs were deeply troubling.
“Let me be clear, we have not asked North Korea to do everything, before we do anything. We are prepared to be flexible, but we cannot solve this problem alone,” remarked the Ambassador after the Council meeting. Craft suggested North Korea avoid provocations and engage in dialogue. “Peace is a better way, and peace can only be achieved by doing this together,” she said.
North Korea fired no projectiles in the past two months and reports suggest that Pyongyang was busy combating the threat of the novel coronavirus. On February 29, Kim reportedly announced measures to prevent coronavirus from spreading in the region and met his Workers' Party of Korea warning them of serious consequences if the deadly virus finds its way into the country.
(With AP inputs)