North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea Thursday in its first weapons launches in more than two months and an apparent effort to pressure Washington as the two sides struggle to restart nuclear negotiations. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were fired from near the eastern coastal town of Wonsan and flew about 430 kilometers (270 miles) and 690 kilometers (430 miles) respectively before landing off the country’s east coast. South Korea’s military earlier said both missiles flew 430 kilometers but the trajectory for one was revised based on a joint South Korean-U.S. analysis. South Korean officials said the missiles were both short-range. A South Korean defense official, requesting anonymity because of department rules, said that an initial analysis showed both missiles were fired from mobile launchers and flew at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles). He said South Korea’s military believes a second missile that flew 690 kilometers is a new type of missile but more analysis is necessary. The North Korea is unhappy over planned U.S.-South Korean military drills that it says are preparation for an invasion. The missile tests may be meant as a warning to Washington. They came as many in the United States were focused on testimony before Congress by Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, about his two-year probe into Russian election interference. A day earlier, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton left Seoul after agreeing with South Korean officials to work closely to achieve North Korea’s…
“North Korea appears to be thinking its diplomacy with the U.S. isn’t proceeding in a way that they want. So they’ve fired missiles to get the table to turn in their favor,” said analyst Kim Dae-young at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.
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