SEOUL – North Korea fired two more “projectiles” into the Sea of Japan on Monday, the latest in a series of drills condemned by South Korea and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
The latest firings — bringing the total to six in three days — were confirmed by a spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said it was unclear if North Korea was testing guided missiles or rockets from multiple launchers.
“We are still checking on the precise nature of these tests,” the spokesman said.
South Korea was analyzing whether the projectiles were short-range missiles or a new type of artillery the country may be developing, officials said Monday.
North Korea fired what Seoul officials called a short-range projectile Sunday, a day after conducting three similar launches.
South Korean officials earlier said the weapons fired Saturday were guided missiles but later clarified that they may not be missiles, referring to the objects as “projectiles.”
“There is a possibility that they are short-range missiles or large-caliber rockets with a similar ballistic trajectory,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said.
Kim said North Korea may be developing such a large-caliber gun and South Korea is taking seriously whatever weapons the country develops because it could attack the South. He said an artillery gun with a bigger caliber will likely have more destructive power.
Following the North’s nuclear test in February and subsequent United Nations sanctions, tensions have escalated sharply, with Pyongyang issuing near daily threats of retribution against the South and the United States.
Although the situation has calmed somewhat in recent weeks, Pyongyang has continued to denounce a series of South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises, which it sees as dress rehearsals for invasion.
Missile drills are not unusual but they come at a time of simmering military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea labeled the weekend tests as “deplorable” and “provocative,” while Ban urged Pyongyang to refrain from any further launches. “It is time for them to resume dialogue and lower the tensions,” Ban said.