Published: Tue, August 29, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

North Korea fires possible ballistic missile

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that a "projectile" had been fired on Saturday morning and that it was working to determine what kind of missile it was, according to the South's Yonhap News Agency.

While Seoul and Washington say that the system, installed on South Korean territory, was created to intercept North Korean missiles, China believes its deployment has only escalated tensions in the region.

North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests this year, increasing tensions with the United States, South Korea and Japan. Pyongyang responded by threatening to fire missiles toward the US Pacific island territory of Guam but later said it was holding off while it waited to see what the United States would do next.

South Korea's defence ministry said "unidentified projectiles", fired at 6:49 am (2149 GMT Friday), flew some 250 kilometres towards the Sea of Japan.

The launches come as tens of thousands of South Korean and USA troops take part in joint military drills in the south of the peninsula, which the North views as highly provocative.

He said that military would "proceed more thoroughly" with the ongoing Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, a joint training drill between South Korea and the US that started Monday.

President Donald Trump had warned he would unleash "fire and fury" if the North continued its provocation.

The U.S. characterized them as short-range ballistic missiles.

However, some experts say North Korea is now mainly focused on the bigger picture of testing its bargaining power against the United States with its new long-range missiles and likely has no interest in letting things get too tense during the drills.

At the time of the tests, North Korean state media showed leader Kim Jong Un overseeing a special forces operation which simulated strikes on South Korean islands, Ripley said.

But earlier this week the rhetoric appeared to be cooling - at least on the American side - as Trump expressed optimism about North Korea on Tuesday, saying of leader Kim Jong Un, "I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us".

Tillerson last week noted that North Korea has exercised "restraint" since the U.N. Security Council adopted new sanctions against the regime early this month.

It is also believed to be developing a solid-fuel missile that could be used for submarine launches.

"In regards to activity in North Korea tonight, the president has been briefed and we are monitoring the situation", she said.

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