North Korea fires missiles amid coronavirus pandemic

North Korea fires missiles amid coronavirus pandemic


North Korea fired two projectiles that gave the impression to be short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off the East Coast of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea's military said on Saturday, after what analysts said was a show of confidence during the coronavirus pandemic by announcing an April legislature session.

The launch follows two earlier this month, when North Korea launched short-range missiles and multiple projectiles, in line with South Korea's military, drawing US and Chinese appeals for Pyongyang to return to talks on ending its nuclear and missile programmes.

The suspected missiles were fired from North Pyongan province, South Korea's executive agency of Staff said. The province is above Pyongyang on the northwest corner of the Korean Peninsula, bordering China.

Japan's coast guard said on Saturday that North Korea gave the impression to have fired a missile, which landed outside Japan's exclusive economic zone waters.

Earlier on Saturday, North Korea announced it'll hold in April a session of the Supreme People's Assembly, its rubber-stamp legislature, in Pyongyang, which analysts had said would involve gathering almost 700 of the country's leaders in one spot because the coronavirus spreads worldwide.

"If it goes ahead, it'd be the final word show of [North Korea's] confidence in managing the coronavirus situation," Rachel Minyoung Lee, of the North Korea monitoring website NK News, said on Twitter in the week.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus that was first detected in China late last year, though a top u. s. military official said last week he's "fairly certain" there have been infections in North Korea.

State media KCNA also said on Saturday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided an fire competition between combined units of the North Korean army on Friday, displaying photos of him watching with high-ranking military officers, all unmasked.

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