North Korea confirmed on Friday, Nov. 1, that it conducted its third test-firing of a new “super-large” multiple rocket launcher that it says expands its ability to destroy enemy targets in surprise attacks.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency described the tests a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries said they detected two projectiles launched from an area near the North Korean capital traveling more than 321 kilometers (200 miles) cross-country before landing in waters off the North’s eastern coast.
Authorities say North Korea could ramp up their weapons demonstrations as the end-of-year deadline—placed on the United States by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to devise mutually acceptable terms—approaches.
According to the Washington Post, talks between U.S. and North Korean officials broke down in Stockholm earlier in October, where North Korea walked away from the discussion calling them “sickening.”
According to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, weapons were fired from an area near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and flew about 230 miles across the country at the height of up to 56 miles before landing off its eastern coast on Thursday.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff say that they have urged the North to “immediately stop actions that do not help efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
Japanese military said the missiles didn’t penetrate Japan’s territorial waters. Still, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nonetheless condemned the launches “as an act that threatens the peace and safety of Japan and the region.”
According to Stripes.com, a “real-world missile alert” was issued by Japanese officials, and a message was posted on its official Facebook page at 4:50 p.m. Thursday urging personnel to “seek shelter.”
Nam Sung-wook, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Korea University, said more North Korean weapons displays are likely.“North Korea is investing all its strength in a hard-line position against Washington and Seoul,” said Nam. “If its missiles fly over Japan, the international impact would be huge because the United States and Japan would find it difficult to let it go.”
Last week, Kim ordered the destruction of South Korean-built facilities at a long-shuttered joint tourist project at North Korea’s scenic Diamond Mountain resort. South Korea later proposed talks, but North Korea has insisted they exchange documents to satisfy the details of Kim’s order.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.