North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles toward East Sea

SEOUL North Korea launched two suspected short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea on Thursday, marking Pyongyang's sixth such launch this year, according to South Korea's military.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated the launch was detected around 8 a.m. in and around Hamhung, a city on the country's east coast. Source quoted that it did not go into greater detail. In a message to media, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "Our military is keeping close checks on related North Korean moves and maintaining a ready posture."

Pyongyang reportedly fired at least two cruise missiles from an inland area on Tuesday, following four rounds of weapons testing, including hypersonic missile launches on January 5 and 11, according to reports.

On January 14, it tested the KN-23 missile, which is based on Russia's Iskander ballistic missile, as well as its own version of the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), the KN-24.

The North's recent "saber-rattling" came as the US stepped up sanctions pressure amid a protracted stalemate in its nuclear negotiations with the obstinate regime.

During their virtual meeting last Friday, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the North's missile launches earlier this month, according to the White House, while US officials have maintained an openness to talks.

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