North Korea fires projectile in second launch of the week

Intelligence tracks a new launch

By Barbara Starr and Ivana Kottasová, CNN
KCNA/AP via CNN

An official said US military intelligence tracked a new launch from North Korea on Friday morning local time (Thursday in the US).

North Korea has made its second launch of projectiles this week, a senior US official tells CNN.

The official said US military intelligence tracked a new launch from North Korea on Friday morning local time (Thursday in the US). According to the initial assessment, the projectile appeared to be similar to the short range ballistic missiles fired earlier this week, the official said, referring to Wednesday's twin launches from North Korea's east coast.

A second US official told CNN that the initial assessment was that North Korea launched two short range ballistic missiles.

South Korea's military has been monitoring North Korean activity and confirmed the launch of two "unidentified short-range projectiles" from North Korea's South Hamgyong Province toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The projectiles were launched at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m. local time, the statement said.

The timing of the tests coincides with a series of ASEAN meetings held this week in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in attendance.

US president Donald Trump said Thursday he had "no problem" with the launches. Asked for his reaction to North Korean ballistic missile testing, he responded: "Short range missiles. We never made an agreement on that. I have no problem."

"These are short-range missiles, they're very standard," he said.

North Korea's state run Korean Central News Agency described this week's earlier missile launches as being "guided" by the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The agency said then that the launch was a test fire of a "newly-developed large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system."

Experts say the recent series of launches could signal North Korea's discontent over developments south of its border, including upcoming joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, and South Korea's decision to acquire F-35 stealth fighters, which could be capable of evading North Korean radars.

The tests are a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, which bar North Korea from testing and launching ballistic missiles.

CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul contributed to this report.

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