South Korean officials said Tuesday that North Korea had conducted a weapons test, firing missiles into the waters off of its western coast on the eve of parliamentary elections in the South.
The country's military told The Associated Press that it detected multiple projectiles fired from numerous sources including fighter jets, all of which are believed to have landed in the sea.
The ground-based missiles tested Tuesday are thought to be cruise missiles, according to the AP, and not the ballistic weapons that North Korea is banned from testing under U.N. regulations.
Still, the weapons test during a time of the coronavirus outbreak around the world is likely to be seen as an act of provocation against the U.S. and South Korea, which have largely ceased negotiations with the North following the breakdown of talks between President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea bans leather coats after Kim starts new fashion trend Belarus and Russia must resolve the migrant crisis on their own North Korea's Kim makes first public appearance in month MORE.
The two leaders previously met for several summits and proclaimed their goal of denuclearization for the Korean Peninsula, but discussions have stalled in recent months.
An analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy told the news service that Pyongyang hopes to balance a relationship with the U.S. and its desire for leverage in future discussions.
“North Korea wants to create and maintain tensions, but still aims to prevent those tensions from growing too much and pressuring the U.S. a lot,” Go Myong-Hyun told the news service.
Other North Korean jets patrolled the country's border with China on Tuesday, according to the AP.
North Korean officials have denied in recent weeks that the country is experiencing an outbreak of coronavirus even as officials in South Korea, China, the U.S. and other countries battle the spread of the disease.