Seoul says North Korea has fired 3 missiles into sea
19 July 2016, 14:12
Seoul – North Korea on Tuesday fired three ballistic missiles into
its eastern sea in an apparent protest of South Korea's decision to allow the
deployment of an advanced US missile defense system in the country, Seoul
The missiles launched from a western North Korea town flew across
the country before crashing into the waters off its east coast, Seoul's Joint
Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Two of them flew about 500km to 600km, displaying a sufficient
range to reach entire South Korea, JCS spokesperson Jeon Ha Gyu said. He said South
Korea's military was analysing how far the third missile flew. An earlier JCS
statement said all three flew about 500km to 600km.
A statement from the Pentagon said that US Strategic Command
systems tracked "what we assess were three North Korean missile
launches." It said two were presumed to be Scud tactical ballistic
missiles, followed by the presumed launch of a Rodong intermediate range
It said the missile launches did not pose a threat to North
North Korea routinely tests short-range missiles and artillery
systems but the latest launches came days after the country warned of
unspecified "physical counter-action" over the deployment of the
Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system in the southern town of
Jeon said South Korea "strongly condemns" the launches
that he described as an "armed protest" against the THAAD deployment.
In Tokyo, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the launches were
"an act of provocation that undermines regional and international
security. ... We absolutely cannot accept it."
North Korea has already deployed a variety of missiles that can
reach most of South Korea and Japan, including American military bases in those
countries. The country is also pushing to develop a long-range nuclear-tipped
missile that can strike the mainland US, but South Korean defense officials
believe the North does not possess such a weapon.
Analyst Kim Dong-yub at Seoul's Institute for Far East Studies
said the North appears to have demonstrated its ability to strike southern
South Korean targets including an area where a THAAD battery is to be placed by
the end of next year.
A Rodong missile is known to have a maximum range of 1 300km.
One of the missiles launched in March flew about 800km, according to Seoul's
Seoul and Washington say they need the THAAD system to better deal
with what they call increasing North Korean threats in the aftermath of its
fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year.
The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because
the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28 500
US soldiers are stationed in South Korea to deter possible aggression from
North Korea; tens of thousands more are stationed in Japan.