North’s missile is sixth major weapons test this year

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North’s missile is sixth major weapons test this year

South Koreans watch news on North Korea’s latest short-range missile launch at Seoul Station, central Seoul, Tuesday morning. [NEWS1]

South Koreans watch news on North Korea’s latest short-range missile launch at Seoul Station, central Seoul, Tuesday morning. [NEWS1]

 
North Korea fired a short-range missile into the East Sea Tuesday morning, said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).  
 
The JCS said that a projectile believed to be a short-range missile was fired eastward from Mupyong-ri in northern Jagang Province toward the east at around 6:40 a.m.
 
“The military is maintaining a readiness posture while closely monitoring related trends,” it added, with South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities, who are conducting further analysis.  
 
This launch came days after Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s influential sister, said in a statement Saturday that Pyongyang could take steps to improve relations with Seoul, including an inter-Korean summit, if South Korea abandons its "hostility" and "double standards.”
 
The previous day, Friday, she called a formal declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War, as proposed by President Moon Jae-in in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, an "admirable idea."
 
The launch came 13 days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Sept. 15. It also tested long-range cruise missiles earlier this month. Under United Nations Security Council resolutions, North Korea is not explicitly banned from developing cruise missiles.
 
This marks North Korea’s sixth major weapons test this year.  
 
South Korea convened an emergency meeting of its National Security Council (NSC) later Tuesday morning on how to respond, said the Blue House.
 
The NSC reviewed the North’s “situation and intentions” and “expressed regret at the launch at a time when stabilization of the Korean Peninsula situation is very important.”
 
The NSC “decided to closely consult with the United States and other relevant countries while closely monitoring North Korea's future trends,” according to the Blue House.  
 
The 75-minute NSC meeting was convened by Suh Hoon, director of the Blue House National Security Office, and attended by Defense Minister Suh Wook, Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, Unification Minister Lee In-young, and other senior security and Blue House officials. The members received a report from JSC Chairman Gen. Won In-choul and discussed countermeasures. Suh later briefed President Moon.  
 
Moon ordered “a comprehensive analysis of North Korea’s recent statements and missile launch situation” and a corresponding response.
 

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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