North Korea fired three unknown projectiles Monday, according to South Korea’s military, the second apparent North Korean missile test of the year.
The projectiles were fired toward the sea off North Korea’s east coast from the eastern town of Sondok in South Hamgyong Province, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. No other details about the launch were immediately available.
North Korea, which is trying to fight off a potentially disastrous coronavirus outbreak, has sent mixed messages over the past week.
Last Monday, North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles. On Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, slammed South Korea’s presidential office as “idiotic.” On Thursday, Kim Jong Un sent a warm letter expressing what Seoul said was his “unwavering friendship and trust” toward South Korean President Moon Jae-in — the two leaders’ first contact in months.
The moves — erratic even by Pyongyang’s standards — create uncertainty about North Korea’s intentions for 2020.
In a New Year’s speech, Kim said he no longer felt bound by his self-imposed suspension on long-range missile and nuclear tests. He also warned the world would soon witness a “new strategic weapon.”
But since then, North Korea, along with the rest of the world, has been trying to fight off the coronavirus. Though North Korea has reported no infections, there are concerns Pyongyang is hiding an outbreak. A coronavirus epidemic would likely be a humanitarian nightmare in North Korea, which is poor and lacks basic healthcare infrastructure and supplies.