North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles on Tuesday, in further defiance of the international community and in apparent reaction to the planned deployment of a US defense system in the South.
The launches drew swift condemnation from the United States and Japan, who vowed a coordinated response to Pyongyang’s repeated violations of UN sanctions that bar it from weapons tests.
Two SCUD missiles flew between 500 and 600 kilometers (310-370 miles) into the Sea of Japan, while a third, believed to be Rodong intermediate range ballistic missile, was fired about an hour later.
The trajectory of the Rodong missile was still being analyzed, spokesman Jeon Ha-Kyu of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The SCUD missiles’ range is such that they could strike anywhere within South Korea, the military said, adding that the latest tests were presumed to be linked to the North’s recent threats.
Pyongyang last week said it would take “physical action” after Washington and Seoul announced the deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile defense system.
The announcement of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, was prompted by a series of missile launches this year that analysts say demonstrate that the North is making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.