North Korea launches 3 ballistic missiles off its east coast
North Korea has launched three ballistic missiles just over a week after threatening a physical response to the US’s deployment of a missile system in the South.
“The ballistic missiles flight went from 500 kilometers to 600 kilometers, which is a distance far enough to strike all of South Korea including Busan,” said South Korea’s military in a statement released shortly after the early Tuesday launch.
It noted that the missiles, believed to be SCUDs, were fired from an area in the North’s western region into the Sea of Japan.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification recently warned that Pyongyang was “fully prepared” to carry out a fifth nuclear test.
Last week, the North threatened a “physical response” to the US’s deployment of the sophisticated THAAD missile system in the Korean Peninsula.
This US Department of Defense/Missile Defense Agency handout photo shows a terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor launching from a THAAD battery located on Wake Island, in the western Pacific Ocean on November 1, 2015. (AFP)
“There will be physical response measures from us as soon as the location and time that the invasionary tool for US world supremacy, THAAD, will be brought into South Korea are confirmed,” read a statement released by Pyongyang at the time.
Tensions have been flaring in the region since January, when North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, and vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
A month later, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket which it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington and Seoul denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.