North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s military have claimed.

Earlier this month, North Korea launched multiple missiles into the sea as part of firing drills, South Korea’s military, drawing US and Chinese appeals for Pyongyang to return to talks on ending its nuclear and missile programmes.

The apparent short-range missiles were fired from North Pyongan province, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The province is just above Pyongyang on the west coast of the Korean peninsula.

A test of weapons in an undisclosed location in North Korea on March 10
(Image: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

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Japan’s coast guard said today that North Korea appeared to have fired a missile, which landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone waters.

State media KCNA said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided an artillery fire competition between combined units of the North Korean army on Friday.

North Korea announced today it will hold in April a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, its legislature, in Pyongyang, which analysts had said would involve gathering almost 700 of the country’s leaders in one spot as the coronavirus spreads worldwide.

“If it goes ahead, it would be the ultimate show of (North Korea’s) confidence in managing the coronavirus situation,” Rachel Minyoung Lee, of the North Korea monitoring website NK News, said on Twitter this week.

A projectile is launched during a long-range artillery drill by the North Korean army on March 2

A projectile is launched during a long-range artillery drill by the North Korean army on March 2
(Image: YONHAP/EPA-EFE/REX)

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North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus that was first detected in China late last year, though a top US military official said last week he is “fairly certain” there were infections in North Korea.

Kim Jong-un is rushing to build a new hospital despite tens of thousands of coronavirus cases in neighbouring China and South Korea.

Without acknowledging the escalating crisis, the dictator has ordered construction of a new hospital in the heart of Pyongyang.

In a speech detailed by state propaganda, the dictator insisted that the project was to celebrate 75 years since the ruling party was founded and had already been agreed at a meeting months ago.

Kim Jong-un never acknowledged the pandemic directly in his speech, but he admitted the country faced its “harshest-ever internal and external situations”, a full transcript shows.

He also said it was “urgent” to “improve the health of the people” and warned that “conditions are bad and many difficulties lie ahead”.



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