After a relatively calm few weeks, North Korea fired three short-range missiles today, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said today.
NPR’s Louisa Lim reports that North Korea fired the missiles in defiance of international sanctions. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“North Korea launched two guided missiles this morning and a third in the afternoon, according to South Korea’s defence ministry — all landed in waters off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula.”
“This comes at a time when tensions had been ebbing, following months of escalating tensions, including threats of nuclear strikes. Pyongyang has recently withdrawn two mid-range missiles which had been poised for firing on the east coast.”
“The last time such short-range missiles were fired was just two months ago, in March. This latest launch comes just after the United Nations issued a report, saying international sanctions are reining in the development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”
The New York Times quotes Kim Min-seok, the defense ministry spokesman, saying the country remains vigilant “and prepared in case the launching of these missiles might be followed by a military provocation by the North.”
“North Korea conducts regular launches of its Scud short-range missiles, which can hit targets in South Korea. It conducted a successful launch of a long-range missile last December, saying it put a weather satellite into orbit. The United States and its allies denounced the launch as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead.”
As we reported last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also replaced his defense chief with a relative unknown.