North Korea broke a month-long lull in missile tests on Thursday (28 November), its southern neighbor said, firing two short range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast - a move analysts described as a possible Thanksgiving reminder to the United States.
As the clock ticks down to a year-end deadline Pyongyang has set Washington to restart stalled denuclearization talks, the South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North appeared to have tried out its new multiple rocket launchers - sending two rockets 236 miles from the eastern coastal town of Yonpo.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) DIRECTOR OF OPERATION IN SOUTH KOREAN ARMY JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF (JCS), JEON DONG-JIN, SAYING:
"North Korea's act is unhelpful for efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. The military expresses strong regret and urges the North to stop any action that raises military tension."
Analysts said the launch could be a message to the U.S. - a display of weapons development progress on the anniversary of North Korea's 2017 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
Thursday's was the the first such launch since the end of October when two suspected missiles were fired, again into the sea, between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Japan's defense ministry said Thursday's launch did not enter its airspace or the waters over which its has rights but Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said it poses a serious threat to the international community.
Denuclearization talks with the U.S. stalled in October, with Pyongyang demanding that Washington lift sanctions and end joint military drills with South Korea, as well as threatening to walk away from negotiations.