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Posted: 2020-03-28 23:08:00

North Korea fired two "short-range projectiles" into the Sea of Japan off its east coast on Sunday, South Korean officials said.

The two projectiles were launched from the coastal Wonsan area, and flew 230 kilometers (143 miles) at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles), South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

They also sharply criticized Pyongyang's decision to carry out the launch — particularly in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Such military action by North Korea is an extremely inappropriate act when the entire world is having difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Read more: Is North Korea hiding a coronavirus outbreak?

Latest weapons test

If the projectiles used in the North Korean launch are confirmed to be ballistic missiles, it will be the fourth missile test this month. Japan's Defense Ministry that early indications point to the launch of "ballistic missile-like objects."

On March 21, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea. According to analysts at 38 North, a Washington-based think tank, that launch involved two KN-24 ballistic missiles that reached a height of 50 kilometers (35 miles) and traveled roughly 410 kilometers (250 miles).

North Korea is conducting military drills this month, which are frequently overseen by leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang frequently launches missiles in defiance of a United Nations missile test ban and US-led sanctions over its weapons programs.

The US and North Korea continue to be deadlocked in negotiations over ending Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons.

wmr/rs (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)

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