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North Korea keeps quiet on recent projectile launches

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SEOUL, March 30 (UPI) —North Korea has not publicly announced its most recent rocket launch because Pyongyang is wary of China’s reaction.

North Korea typically publicizes its military training and target practices, but state media refrained from reporting on the recent launch of a short-range missile on Tuesday, News 1 reported.

The missile traveled across the interior of the country for more than 120 miles before landing near the China border, according to South Korean military intelligence.

Pyongyang could face criticism from Beijing, as China has expressed its displeasure with North Korea’s military provocations and has supported the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Rather than touting its military, on Wednesday Rodong Sinmun, the Workers’ Party newspaper, devoted most of its content to preparations leading up to the Seventh Party Congress, to be held in May. The paper also included an editorial on the state’s “peaceful” space development and argued its satellite launches did not break international law.

North Korea’s silence is unusual. In early March, the Rodong had touted the deployment of the country’s first 300-mm multiple rocket launchers. Pyongyang has also fired a total of 16 short-range projectiles in 2016.

Kim Jong Un had said the launches from the rocket launchers pleased him, and KCNA, the state news agency, has described the launches from its latest technology as “accurate as threading a needle.”

Kim had also said during the firing of six projectiles on March 10 that the country must stand ready for nuclear attacks “from the enemy.”

But other missile tests have not been made public since March 18.

Some experts have said the silence could mean North Korea is wary of China’s reactions to its weapons tests, while others have stated there may have been an error in the last firing.

South Korea’s military is also concerned the North is only two or three years away from completing a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Seoul has budgeted for a SLBM-warning radar, local news network YTN reported.

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