North Korea fired at least three unidentified projectiles off its east coast Monday, South Korea's military said, two days after the North threatened to take "momentous" action to protest outside condemnation over its earlier . Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement it has detected the three launches made from a town in the North's South Hamgyong province. It said South Korea's military is monitoring North Korea for possible additional launches.
In the past 10 days, North Korea said leadersupervised two rounds of live-fire artillery exercises in its first weapons tests since late November. Those launches came after Kim entered the new year with a vow to bolster his nuclear deterrent and not be bound by a major weapons test moratorium amid a deadlock in a U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at convincing Kim to abandon his nuclear program in return for economic and political benefits.
South Korea and some European countries protested against the second North Korea drills that they believe involved ballistic missile launches in a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
North Korea has lashed out at the outside criticism, saying it has the right to conduct military drills in the face of U.S. and South Korean forces on its doorstep.
On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council discussed the North Korean launches March 2 and didn't issue any statement. But the council's five European members condemned what they called "provocative actions."
Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany and the UK, which called for the closed-door meeting, said in a joint statement afterward that the tests undermine regional and international peace, security and stability and violate unanimous Security Council resolutions.
The North's Foreign Ministry on Saturday accused the five European countries of "repeating an absurd argument of condemnation and violation resolutions of the U.N. whenever we conducted military drills."
"The illogical thinking and sophism of these countries are just gradually bearing a close resemblance to the U.S. which is hostile to us," a ministry statement said. "The reckless behavior of these countries instigated by the U.S. will become a fuse that will trigger our yet another momentous reaction."
Nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington remain stalled since thebetween North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Trump in Vietnam in Hanoi ended without any agreement.
Subsequent talks between the two countries failed to produce much progress amid disputes over how much sanctions relief should be given in return for a limited step to move away from nuclear weapons by North Korea.