North Korea conducts third weapon test in eight days

02 August 2019

A screengrab from a video aired by KCTV on 1 August showing what Pyongyang described as a new North Korean “large-calibre multiple launch rocket system” that was reportedly tested on 31 July. This image shows a projectile being launched that appears to have small control surfaces on its nose. Source: Via KCTV

North Korea test-fired two short-range projectiles into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) on 2 August, according to South Korean officials, in Pyongyang's third such test launch since 25 July.

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement that the projectiles were launched at 0259 and 0323 h local time, respectively, from the Yonghung area in South Hamgyong Province. The projectiles flew about 220 km at a top speed of Mach 6.9 and reached an altitude of around 25 km before falling into the East Sea.

In a separate statement South Korea's presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said that the projectiles, which showed flight characteristics similar to those fired on 31 July, "are likely to be a new type of ballistic missile", but pointed out that more analysis was needed to confirm this.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo said that none of the projectiles fired by North Korea since 25 July has reached Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, adding that the test-firings have had no immediate impact on Japan's security.

North Korea's latest launches, of which no images have yet to emerge, came just one day after Pyongyang announced that it test-fired what it described as a new type of "large-calibre multiple launch rocket system" on 31 July, seemingly contradicting South Korea's assessment that Pyongyang appeared to have launched two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs).

Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on 1 August that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un witnessed the first test-firing of a "new-type guided ordnance rocket, which will play a main role in ground military operations in a short span of time", adding that the firing "verified the combat effectiveness of the overall system".

Kim was quoted as saying that the new system is of "great strategic significance" and would considerably boost the combat capability of the Korean People's Army.

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