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North Korea Fires Projectiles Into The Sea After U.N. Imposes New Sanctions

The six projectiles were reportedly fired from an area near the North Korean port of Wonsan on Thursday morning.
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The six projectiles were reportedly fired from an area near the North Korean port of Wonsan on Thursday morning.

On the heels of new U.N. sanctions that could crimp its economic dealings with China, North Korea has fired six projectiles — possibly rockets or missiles — into the sea on the country's eastern coast, South Korean officials say.

The projectiles that were fired Thursday flew for at least 60 miles before hitting the water, according to media reports in South Korea.

From Seoul, NPR's Elise Hu reports:

"South Korea's defense ministry says it's analyzing what North Korea launched into the Sea of Japan. It's not clear whether they were missiles, rockets or artillery shells.

"The military move happened just hours after the U.N. Security Council adopted a new package of sanctions on North Korea. Under the resolution, all countries will be required to inspect cargo going to and from North Korea.

"Governments will also be required to ban flights of any planes or ships suspected of carrying illicit items to the North. The newly adopted resolution marks the fifth set of sanctions to hit North Korea since 2006."

Regarded as being tougher than other recent sanctions on North Korea, the new measures doled out by the U.N. Security Council ban the country from exporting coal and other mineral resources — an industry that, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, serves as " a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's total exports."

Just before the projectiles were fired into the sea, China froze money transfers to North Korea in all currencies, reports the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, which adds that China also halted coal imports at its border town of Dandong.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.