North Korea launches two ballistic missiles

Rogue nation returning to military display

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North Korea
North Korea residents watch video on TV on missile launch.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 2, 2020 - 6:30pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

North Korea on Monday reportedly fired two ballistic missiles, resuming its show of military strength and firepower.

South Korean officials tell news agencies that the projectiles landed in waters east of the peninsula are likely short-range missiles.

The launches came after months of no missile firings and two days after the rogue nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, reportedly led a military drill to test troops’ combat readiness.

They also came days after Kim warned of “serious consequences” if the deadly coronavirus in neighboring South Korea, which now has a large outbreak of the virus, spreads to his country. 

At the start of 2020, Kim declared an end to his country's moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and vowed to soon display a "new strategic weapon."

On Monday, a top-ranking South Korean military official said the missiles were launched near the coastal town of Wonsan and flew about 149 miles, according to the Associated Press.

“The repeated firings of ballistic missiles by North Korea is a serious problem for the international community including Japan, and the government will continue to gather and analyze information, and monitor the situation to protect the lives and property of the people,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a statement obtained by the wire service.

North Korea has apparently tried, at least since Kim became the country’s leader in 2011, to develop a nuclear weapons program, which includes acquiring uranium to make a nuclear warhead and developing missiles to deliver them, alarming world leaders. 

The U.S. has in response led economic-sanction efforts to try to deter North Korea’s nuclear pursuits. 

President Trump has met twice with Kim -- in 2018 in Singapore and last year in Hanoi, Vietnam -- in an effort to curtail North Korea’s nuclear program, in exchange for the easing of sanctions. But those talks, at least publicly, have stalled.