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Published: Tue, March 07, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Seoul: North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into ocean

Seoul: North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into ocean

He said the launches appeared to be in reaction to huge military drills by Washington and South Korea that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal. "It is an extremely risky action", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament, referring to U.N. Security Council resolutions passed against North Korea.

North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles and ratcheted up tensions in the region, sparking an angry response from neighbours South Korea and Japan.

The missile launches came days after it promised retaliation over US-South Korea military drills that it sees as a preparation for war.

South Korean lawmaker Kim Young-woo, chairman of parliament's National Defense Committee who was briefed by the JCS, said that the projectile looks similar to the Pukguksong-2 missile that North Korea test-fired last month.

It was the first time in six months for North Korea to launch missiles into Japan's EEZ.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's Day address that the North entered the final stage of preparations to test-fire an ICBM, an apparent threat that he is close to perfecting capabilities to strike the continental U.S. with a nuclear missile. They are also analyzing the North's intention to have the missiles fall in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Washington would consider such a capability a major threat.

"We are conducting an analysis on the projectile to determine its type and flight range".

"North Korea has ignored South Korea and the global community's constant warnings", said Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea's acting president, in a statement. "North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities have really improved, and they are becoming more hard to predict". The messages informed the "21st exploration team" to review their "math assignment" which many believe is a coded message system for spies in South Korea.

The launch comes at a sensitive time as China's political elite gather in Beijing for the country's annual legislative meeting. Pyongyang apparently wanted to display a confrontational posture to Washington and Seoul before US and South Korean forces start full-scale drills with advanced weapons.

Three landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline, according to worldwide maritime law. This action coincided with military exercises being conducted by the us and South Korea.

Before Russia's warnings to North Korea over the past year, Pyongyang and Moscow had a historically cooperative, if not friendly, relationship. The Military in South Korea, Japan and the United States have confirmed the launch of missiles.

Some of the missiles landed 190 miles from Japan's north-west coast in clear breach of United Nations resolutions.

"We call on all states to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the DPRK and its enablers that further provocations are unacceptable, and take steps to show there are consequences to the DPRK's unlawful conduct", Toner added.

Hwang called on the United States to complete the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced missile defense system that the two countries announced on July 8 to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

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