North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles

Indo Asian News Service

Seoul, March 6 (IANS) North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan on Monday, in what Japan's leader described as "an extremely dangerous action", the media reported.

Military in South Korea, Japan and the US all confirmed the launch of four projectiles, which one US official said were intermediate range missiles, CNN reported.

Three of the four missiles landed in its Special Economic Zone (EEZ) - an area stretching some 370 km from the coastline of northern Akita prefecture, Japanese Prime Minister told parliament on Monday.

"The latest launches of ballistic missiles clearly demonstrate evidence of a new threat from North Korea," Efe news reported citing Abe as saying.

"These acts a very serious provocation" to Japan's security."

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the four projectiles were launched from an area near North Korea's Dongchang-ri long-range missile site at 7.36 a.m., and flew about 1,000 km, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"We estimate the North fired four ballistic missiles. We are conducting an analysis (with the US) on the missiles to determine their type and other specifications. It will take a while before we can come up with a final analysis (based on American satellite data)," the statement said.

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn convened a National Security Council meeting after the launches.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the incident and warned that the North would face consequences from its continued provocations and pursuit of nuclear and missile programs in defiance of the world's increasing pressure.

Following the launch, the US has reaffirmed its commitment to defend itself and allies South Korea and Japan, by using the "full range of capabilities at our disposal".

"The US strongly condemns North Korea's ballistic missile launches, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said.

Toner said the US "calls on all countries to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the North and its enablers that further provocations are unacceptable, and take steps to show there are consequences to its unlawful conduct."

The latest provocation comes a day after the US said it may consider redeploying a tactical nuclear weapon in South Korea as a deterrent against growing nuclear and missile threats posed by the rogue regime.

On Friday, Pyongyang threatened to conduct more missile firings in response to the two-month-long Foal Eagle exercise between Seoul and Washington, which lasts through April.

In its latest provocations, Pyongyang launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on February 12 to boast its military readiness and test the response from the new Donald Trump administration.

It was the first test-firing of a North Korean missile since Donald Trump became the American president on January 20.

--IANS

ksk