North Korea ‘test fires short-range missiles’

Kim Jong-un watches a flight training on 16 April 2019Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kim Jong-un held talks with the US president in February

North Korea has tested several short-range missiles, according to reports from South Korea.

They were fired from the Hodo peninsula in the east of the country, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last month Pyongyang said it had test-fired what it described as a new “tactical guided weapon”.

That was the first launch since the Vietnam summit between the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Trump, which ended without agreement.

North Korea “fired a number of short-range missiles from its Hodo peninsula near the east coast town of Wonsan to the north-eastern direction from 09:06 (00:06 GMT) to 09:27,” the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The missiles flew for between 70km and 200km (45-125 miles) towards the Sea of Japan, they added.

Hodo has been used in the past for launching cruise missiles and long-range artillery testing.

According to the North Korea news agency (KCNA), April’s test of a new “tactical guided weapon” was overseen by Mr Kim himself. It said the test was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets”, which analysts believe means the weapon could be launched from land, sea or air.

It is unclear if that weapon was a missile, but most observers agree that it was probably a short-range weapon.

Last year, Mr Kim said he would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Nuclear activity appears to be continuing, however, and satellite images of North Korea’s main nuclear site last month showed movement, suggesting the country could be reprocessing radioactive material into bomb fuel.

The country claims it has developed a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a long-range missile, as well as ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the mainland US.