Mar 24, 2021 - World

North Korea launches two unidentified projectiles into East Sea

A person watching Kim Jong-un on a television in Seoul, South Korea, in January 2021.
A person watching North Korea leader Kim Jong-un on a television in Seoul, South Korea, in January 2021. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

The South Korean military said North Korea fired at least two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Thursday local time. Japan's prime minister said the projectiles were ballistic missiles, according to AP.

Driving the news: The latest test comes one day after news broke that the North had tested a short-range cruise missile system last weekend, though U.S. officials described that test as “normal military activity."

Context: Nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea stalled under the Trump administration, and North Korean recently rebuffed the Biden administration's attempts to restart negotiations.

  • Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned the U.S. to "refrain from causing a stink" if "it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years" last week, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were visiting South Korea and Japan.

What they're saying: Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a tweet Thursday that North Korea fired two ballistic missiles, which fell outside of Japan's territory.

  • "It threatens the peace and security of Japan and the region and is a violation of UN resolutions. I strongly protest and strongly condemn it," Suga added.

The big picture: U.S. and South Korean officials are still analyzing the launches to determine what the projectiles were, according to AP.

  • If North Korea did launch ballistic missiles, it would, as Suga noted, have violated United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the country’s nuclear and missile activities.
  • The move would also mark the country's first major missile test since President Biden took office.

Editor's note: This story is developing. Please check back for details.

Go deeper