North Korea Fires 2 Short-Range Projectiles; US Calls It ‘Disappointing’

November 28, 2019 Updated: November 28, 2019

North Korea fired two short-range projectiles on Nov. 28, according to South Korean military officials.

Pyongyang “fired two projectiles from what is presumed to be a super-large multiple rocket launcher,” according to Yonhap News Agency, which cited South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The military said the projectiles were fired from Yeonpo in the country’s South Hamgyong Province and landed off the east coast at about 5 p.m. local time. Fired in a 30-second interval, they both flew about 250 miles and reached a maximum altitude of 60 miles.

While U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper described North Korea’s missile testing as “disappointing,” he said he didn’t “regret trying to take the high road, if you will, and keep the door open for peace and diplomacy if we can move the ball forward,” CNN reported.

“South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing additional features,” the South Korean military said, according to Yonhap. “Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches, and maintaining a readiness posture.”

Military officials said the missile testing won’t ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Plenary Meeting
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang on April 10, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters/File Photo)

“Our military expresses strong regret over the acts and urge North Korea to immediately stop such moves,” Maj. Gen. Jeon Dong-jin told Yonhap.

Although the projectiles didn’t land in Japanese territorial waters, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launches as a “serious challenge” to both Japan and the international community. He said his government will “do its utmost” to protect the lives and assets of the Japanese people.

Abe called the projectiles “ballistic missiles”; some experts have said that projectiles fired from the “super-large” multiple rocket launcher are virtually missiles or missile-class weapons.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take a walk
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take a walk after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on June 23, 2019. (Evan Vucci,AP Photo/ File)

According to Yonhap, the launches would be the fourth time North Korea has used its super-large rocket launching system, which is presumed to be about 24 inches in diameter.

“The repeated tests are aimed at further improving the weapon before deploying it for operation,” Chang Young-keun, a missile expert at Korea Aerospace University, told the news agency. “North Korea appears to be advancing its system for successive firings, among other capabilities.”

The impoverished communist country is banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions from test-firing ballistic missiles.

Earlier this month, a North Korean official said the United States must first drop its “hostile policy” in order to restart stalled denuclearization talks. “In that sense, I think a summit should not really be an issue of our interest,” the official said, according to Reuters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.