North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into its eastern sea on Monday, having apparently resumed weapons demonstrations after a months-long hiatus that could have been forced by the coronavirus crisis in Asia. The launches came two days after North Korea’s state media said leader Kim Jong Un supervised an artillery drill aimed at testing the combat readiness of units in front-line and eastern areas, the AP reports. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles fired from an area near the coastal town of Wonsan flew about 149 miles northeast on an apogee of about 22 miles. It said the South Korean and US militaries were jointly analyzing the launches but didn’t immediately confirm whether the weapons were ballistic or rocket artillery.
Kim entered the New Year vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of "gangster-like" US sanctions and pressure, using a key ruling party meeting in late December to warn of "shocking" action over stalled nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration. He also said the North would soon reveal a new “strategic weapon” and insisted the North was no longer “unilaterally bound” to a self-imposed suspension on the testing of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Japan said it did not detect any projectile landing in its territory. The recent lull in North Korea's launches had experts wondering whether the North was holding back its weapons displays while pushing a tough fight against the coronavirus.
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