(2nd LD) N. Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles toward East Sea: S. Korean military

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, in an apparent show of force as the North’s leader Kim Jong-un is set to hold a rare summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the launches from an area in or around Sunan between about 11:43 a.m. and 11:53 a.m. It did not elaborate further, pending an analysis.

Pyongyang’s latest saber-rattling came as the country’s leader departed for Russia on Sunday to meet with Putin amid concerns over a possible arms deal that could support Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

It remains unknown exactly when and where Kim and Putin will hold their meeting, although some foreign media reports said the summit would likely take place Wednesday at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome space center in the Amur region.

Analysts said it appears to be the first time the North has staged a missile launch while its leader is outside of the country.

“While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance against additional launches, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States,” the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The North has continued to press ahead with weapons tests in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning the country from launches using ballistic missile technology.

The country last fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Aug. 30.

Source: Yonhap News Agency