Provocateur North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea

The Sydney News.Net Friday 18th March, 2016

provocateur north korea fires ballistic missile into sea

SEOUL - Provocateur North Korea on Friday did what it does the best, provoke neighbours and the world powers by launching ballistic missiles and raise possibility of more global economic sanctions.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, the latest ballistic missile launch came around 5:55 a.m. Friday, near Sukchon county, South Pyongang province. The missile flew a distance of 800 kilometers before crashing off the North's east coast, the chiefs said.

The North Korean move is the latest ostentatious display of the military power by North Korea that roils with tension on the peninsula.

It comes a week after Pyongyang fired two missiles from North Hwanghae province, south of the capital, toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean military is said to have tracked the projectiles and is monitoring the situation, it said.

The launch was confirmed by US officials. A defense official told CNN the United States tracked two ballistic missiles, adding it appears to be a Rodong missile fired from a road-mobile launcher.

The official said the test violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from engaging in any ballistic and nuclear activities.

Japan condemned the launch, lodging a protest with North Korea through its embassy in Beijing, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament.

"Japan strongly demands North Korea to exercise self-restraint and will take all necessary measures, such as warning and surveillance activity, to be able to respond to any situations," Abe said.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it wasn't known what type of missile was fired. However, South Korean defense sources said it was the medium-range missile launch a first by North Korea since April 2014 when it fired two.

"(The) Rodong medium-range ballistic missile was fired from Sukchon County, South Pyongang. It landed in the East Sea (Sea of Japan)," said an online blog, "North Korea Leadership Watch", which analyzes developments in the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong Un was not observed to have attended the Friday missile launch, the blog said.

It added that South Korean sources believe that the missile was fired from a transporter-erector-launcher and marked the second mobile missile launch by the North within a week.

On March 10, North Korea conducted a mobile missile drill in which two missiles were launched from outside Sariwon, North Hwanghae province, later implicitly identified as a sea port of debarkation test.

Last week's launch was also confirmed in a report by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. It followed a North Korean claim that it had miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit on ballistic missiles, according to KCNA.

The news agency published a statement that "all agreements on economic cooperation and business exchanges adopted by North and South are invalid".

Seoul last month ordered the closure of the Kaesong industrial complex, a rare symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas.

Tensions have heightened on the Korean Peninsula since a fourth North Korean nuclear test and joint US-South Korean military drills.

Around 17,000 American military personnel and 300,000 South Korean troops are taking part in what the South Korean Defense Ministry described as the "largest ever" joint military exercises.

North Korea has warned that it would make a "pre-emptive and offensive nuclear strike" in response to the joint exercises.

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