North Korea launches Three Ballistic Missiles In Response To US Defence System

19 July 2016

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan early on Tuesday morning, the latest riposte against the decision by Washington to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons were Scud-type missiles, with a range of up to 360 miles, enabling them to strike targets anywhere in South Korea.

The missiles, launched from North Hwanghae Province between 5.45 am and 6.40 am on Tuesday,  flew between 311-373 miles toward the Sea of Japan, Yonhap News reported. The officials added that South Korea is closely monitoring the activities of the North's military.

The United States warned it would raise concerns at the United Nations over the latest missile tests carried out in violation of Security Council resolutions.

The launches are being seen as Pyongyang demonstrating its anger at the announcement that the US is to deploy multiple units of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to counter the estimated 1,000 ballistic missiles that North Korea has in its arsenal.

An unidentified military official said that Tuesday's launch was believed to be linked to the North's latest threats.

"SCUDs are a weapon that the North is most likely to use to hit places like Seongju", the official said, according to Yonhap news agency.

Mobile THAAD units are being introduced, "as part of a defensive action to guarantee the security of the Republic of Korea and our people from North Korea's nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile threats," said Yoo Jeh-seung, the deputy minister for policy at South Korea's Ministry of National Defence.

US Strategic Command said in a statement it detected the launches of what it believed were two Scud tactical ballistic missiles and a No Dong intermediate-range ballistic missile.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command determined the missile launches from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, the statement said.

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," said Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman.

"We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions."

North Korea - which has also taken issue with Kim Jong-un, its supreme leader, being placed on a US government list of officials under sanctions for the regime's human rights abuses - has declared the moves to be "a declaration of war against the DPRK [North Korea]".

It has recently conducted a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, while there are concerns that it is preparing to go ahead with a fifth underground nuclear test at its Punggye-Ri test site.

South Korea's Ministry of Unification on Monday confirmed intelligence estimates that the North is ready to carry out a new nuclear test "at any time".


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