Sep 15, 2021 07:19 UTC
  • North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into sea: South military

North Korea has reportedly fired two ballistic missiles off its east coast amid the prolonged deadlock in the denuclearization talks with the United States.

According to Press TV, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the two missiles launched from a site in central North Korea flew toward the waters of the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Wednesday afternoon.

The missiles are believed to have landed outside Japan's exclusive economic zone, the country's coast guard said.

This comes two days after North Korea said it had successfully tested new long-range cruise missiles inside its own territorial waters, a first missile launch since March.  

The North’s official KCNA media outlet reported the test on Monday, adding that the missiles deployed during the test flew 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) before hitting their designated targets.

The North hailed its new missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance,” which is an “effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces.”

Analysts say the missile could be the country's first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

Following the reported launch, Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said if the information on the success of North Korea's cruise missile tests is confirmed, it could become a “potential threat” to the peace and security of the region.

Wednesday’s test comes amid a continued standoff between the North and the United States, which has been exhausting its sanctions machine aimed at supposedly denuclearizing the North.

The two sides have held unprecedented talks under former US President Donald Trump aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in return for Washington’s sanctions relief.

Trump, however, refused to relieve any of the sanctions against the North in return for several steps taken by Pyongyang toward denuclearization. That hampered further diplomacy and prompted Kim to announce an end to a moratorium on North Korea's missile tests.

The negotiations have stalled since 2019.