North Korea fired four ballistic missiles this morning, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said, with three landing in waters that form part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
AP reports that “several” ballistic missiles were launched from North Pyongan province, close to North Korea’s border with China, and flew 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan off the east coast. Pyongyang last tested an intermediate-range missile, the Pukguksong-2, on February 12 and also conducted nuclear tests last year. All tests are banned in North Korea by the UN Security Council.
The firings are believed to be retaliation to annual US and South Korean military exercises which began on March 1. Around 3,600 additional US military personnel have joined 28,000 US troops already based in South Korea for “Operation Foal Eagle”, which continues until April 30. Pyongyang has described the joint exercise as preparations for war with the North and threatened “strong retaliatory measures”.
The US is currently installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula as protection against missile attack from the North.
Japanese PM Abe said his country had lodged “strong protests” with North Korea following the tests. There have been no reports of damage.
“The latest launches of ballistic missiles clearly demonstrate evidence of a new threat from North Korea,” Abe said, according to Kyodo News.
Abe said the fourth missile fell just outside his country’s exclusive economic zone.
It’s not yet known what type of missiles North Korea fired.
The USA has yet to make an official response on Pyongyang’s latest test.
Here’s footage of last month’s test of the Pukguksong-2
That test led the UN Security Council to unanimously condemn North Korea, while US President Donald Trump vowed to deliver a strong response to the provocation.
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