SEOUL, December 18. /TASS/. North Korean ballistic missiles were launched from the North Pyongan Province, the Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday, citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The South Korean officials said the two projectiles were launched between 11:13 and 12:05 local time (05:13 to 06:05 Moscow time) from the area of Tongshan County, where a large missile range is located, towards the Sea of Japan. On Thursday, North Korean experts conducted an "important test of a high thrust solid-propellant engine" at the range. "By increasing surveillance, our servicemen maintain full readiness in close cooperation with the United States," the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Seoul added that it retained the ability to give a "crushing response to any provocation" by Pyongyang.
The South Korean officials noted these projectiles were medium-range ballistic missiles. They flew about 500 kilometers and were launched at a steep angle. According to Yonhap, it is possible that a new solid-propellant medium-range missile was launched on Sunday. The Joint Chiefs of Staff slammed the launch as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, undermining peace and stability in the region, and called for an end to such actions.
The Yonhap news agency points out that the missile launch may be North Korea's response to a UN resolution calling for improvements in the people's republic's human rights situation. Also on Friday, the Japanese government issued a national security document that enshrined the right to "counterattack capabilities" in case of an attack. On Saturday, commemorations were held to mark the anniversary of the death of previous North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
According to Yonhap, Pyongyang has launched 64 ballistic missiles this year, including eight intercontinental missiles, on 36 separate occasions. The previous launch took place on November 18, at the time an intercontinental ballistic missile was tested.