SKorea: NKorea Fired 3 Missiles 05/18 14:06
North Korea fired three short-range guided missiles into its eastern waters
on Saturday, a South Korean official said. It routinely tests such missiles,
but the latest launches came during a period of tentative diplomacy aimed at
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea fired three short-range guided
missiles into its eastern waters on Saturday, a South Korean official said. It
routinely tests such missiles, but the latest launches came during a period of
tentative diplomacy aimed at easing tensions.
The North fired two missiles Saturday morning and another in the afternoon,
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said by phone. He said the
North's intent was unclear. His ministry said it is watching North Korea
carefully in case it conducts a provocation against South Korea.
In March, North Korea launched what appeared to be two KN-02 missiles off
its east coast. Experts believe the country is trying to improve the range and
accuracy of its arsenal.
North Korea recently withdrew two mid-range "Musudan" missiles believed to
be capable of reaching Guam after moving them to its east coast earlier this
year, U.S. officials said. The North is banned from testing ballistic missiles
under U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Earlier this year, North Korea threatened nuclear strikes on Seoul and
Washington because of annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and U.N.
sanctions imposed over its third nuclear test in February. The drills ended
late last month. This past month, the U.S. and South Korea ended another round
of naval drills involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier off the east
coast. North Korea calls such drills preparation to invade the North.
Analysts say the recent North Korean threats were partly an attempt to push
Washington to agree to disarmament-for-aid talks.
In response to Saturday's missile test, the U.S. said threats or
provocations will only further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world
and undermine international efforts to bring peace and stability to Northeast
"We continue to urge the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama's
call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its
international obligations," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin
This past week, Glyn Davies, the top U.S. envoy on North Korea, ended trips
to South Korea, China and Japan. On Friday, an adviser to Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe returned from North Korea but didn't immediately give
details of his talks with officials there.
On Monday, North Korean state media showed that the country's hard-line
defense minister had been replaced by a little-known army general. Outside
analysts said it was part of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to tighten his grip
on the powerful military after his father Kim Jong Il died in December 2011.
The United States and Japan are participants in six-nation nuclear
disarmament talks along with North and South Korea, Russia and China. North
Korea walked out of the talks in 2009 after the United Nations condemned it for
a long-range rocket launch.
North Korea possesses an array of missiles. U.S. and South Korean officials
do not believe the North's claim that it has developed nuclear warheads small
enough to place on a missile. Last week in Washington, South Korean President
Park Geun-hye and President Barack Obama warned North Korea against further
Tension between the two Koreas remains high after both sides pulled out
their workers from a jointly run factory complex earlier this year. The
countries remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a
truce instead of a peace treaty.