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North Korea fires two unidentified projectiles, South Korea says

North Korea has fired two unidentified short-range projectiles from an area near the coastal city of Wonsan into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korea's military said. CNN's Will Ripley reports.

Posted: Mar 2, 2020 4:21 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2020 4:21 PM

North Korea has fired two unidentified short-range projectiles from an area near the coastal city of Wonsan into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korea's military said Monday.

The objects were fired at 12:37 p.m. Korea time and estimated to have a flight distance of 240 kilometers (149 miles) and altitude of 35 kilometers (22 miles), South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The projectiles are likely part of North Korea's combined military drills, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The drills began on Friday, the one-year anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un's summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump that ended without a deal.

North Korean state media reported that Kim presided over the exercise, which was intended to "judge the mobility and the fire power strike ability of the defense units."

Japan's Defense Ministry said it could not yet confirm if the projectiles landed inside its territory or exclusive economic zone, and said no damage had been reported to aircraft or vessels in the area.

"The recent repeated launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea is a serious problem for the international community, including Japan," it said in a statement.

South Korea Director of National Security Chung Eui-yong and other ministers are holding an urgent meeting to discuss the launch this afternoon, according to South Korea's Presidential Blue House.

The South Korean military is "monitoring related movements for possible additional launches and maintaining its readiness" said the statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If this was a missile test, it would be Pyongyang's first of 2020. Last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country would continue to "steadily develop" nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them unless Washington changes course and abandons what Pyongyang calls its "hostile policy."

Weapons experts say test-firing missiles is an important part of improving their accuracy and reliability. North Korea conducted several launches in 2019 as diplomatic efforts between Pyongyang and Washington began to falter, but the country steered clear of testing intercontinental range missiles or detonating nuclear weapons underground.

However, a yet-to-be-released report from a United Nations panel found North Korea's weapons development continued last year in violation of long-standing UN Security Council sanctions.

Though weapons tests are important for development purposes, North Korea's military moves are often timed for maximum political impact both at home and abroad.

Neighboring South Korea is dealing with a massive outbreak of the novel coronavirus, killing at least 26 and infecting more than 4,200. North Korea has not publicly reported any cases within its borders, but experts say it's plausible that the virus has made its way inside the country. Every other country in East Asia has confirmed numerous cases.

The US and South Korea chose to postpone military exercises due to the outbreak. These drills usually draw the ire of North Korea.

"The US and South Korea postponing their defense drills and offering humanitarian assistance has thus earned no goodwill from a Kim regime that sees little benefit in restarting diplomacy," Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said in email.

Seoul is also preparing to hold elections for the National Assembly, and President Moon Jae-in's ruling Democratic Party could suffer as a result of his rapidly declining popularity. Many voters feel Moon has yet to follow through on his promises to fix the economy, now in a state of flux due to the coronavirus, and reach some sort of lasting deal with North Korea.

US voters also head to the polls on Tuesday for the Super Tuesday primaries.

"Pyongyang instead appears intent on raising the stakes before South Korea's April elections and before the 'Super Tuesday' primaries of the US presidential campaign," Easley said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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