North Korea is busy testing a range of missiles, while the world faces a coronavirus crisis. This has infuriated South Korea.
On Sunday, the isolated nation fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast.
It was its eighth and ninth missiles in four rounds of test in March alone. South Korea decried the test as “inappropriate”.
The tests were conducted as the country’s troops simultaneously held drills, usually overseen by its leader Kim Jong Un.
“In a situation where the entire world is experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, this kind of military act by North Korea is very inappropriate and we call for an immediate halt,” South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense said the missiles appeared to be ballistic missiles.
It said they did not land in Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone.
All of the missiles fired so far this year have been small, short-range weapons, such as the KN-24 fired during the last launch on March 21.
But Kim has warned that North Korea is developing a new “strategic weapon” to be unveiled this year.
Analysts speculate that it could be a new long-range ballistic missile, or a submarine capable of launching such missiles.
United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.
The country has been heavily sanctioned over its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea conducted this month’s military drills despite a border lockdown to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
In contrast, South Korea and the United States postponed some of their joint military exercises.
North Korea has not reported any cases of coronavirus even though there are speculations that they hundreds of cases which they are refusing to report.