SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired an unidentified projectile off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, two days after the North claimed to have tested a new missile in its first weapons test in six months.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the North Korean projectile flew toward the waters of the Korean Peninsula's east coast on Wednesday. It gave no further details, and it wasn't clear what the projectile was.
North Korea said Monday it tested a newly developed cruise missile twice over the weekend. North Korea’s state media described the missile as a “strategic weapon of great significance,” implying they were developed with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads.
Many experts say the North Korean test suggested North Korea is pushing to bolster its weapons arsenal amid a deadlock in nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
The latest launch came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Seoul for meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and other senior officials to discuss the stalled nuclear diplomacy with the North.
Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since 2019, when the Americans rejected the North’s demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear facility. Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s overtures for dialogue, demanding that Washington abandon its “hostile” policies first.
The North’s resumption of testing activity is likely an attempt at pressuring the Biden administration over the diplomatic freeze after Kim failed to leverage his arsenal for economic benefits during the the presidency of Donald Trump.