North Korea fires several short-range missiles as South Korea, US conduct drills

 

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea fired several short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast early on Saturday, South Korea and the U.S. military said, as the two allies conducted annual joint military drills that the North denounces as preparation for war.

The U.S. military's Pacific Command said it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles, fired over a 20 minute period. All of the missiles failed, with one blowing up almost immediately after launch, while two others failed in flight, it added.

The South Korean Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were launched from theNorth's eastern Kangwon province and flew in a northeasterly direction about 155 miles into the sea.

Pacific Command said the missiles did not pose a threat to the U.S. mainland or to the Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea had threatened earlier this month to surround "in a sea of fire".

8 PHOTOS
North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
See Gallery
North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Tensions had eased somewhat since a harsh exchange of words between Pyongyang and Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump had warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he would face "fire and fury" if he threatened the United States.

North Korea's last missile test on July 28 was for an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to fly 6,200 miles. That would put parts of the U.S. mainland within reach and prompted heated exchanges that raised fears of a new conflict on the peninsula.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missiles did not reach its territory or exclusive economic zone and did not pose a threat to Japan's safety.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries are in the midst of the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, which the North routinely describes as preparation for invasion, that involve computer simulations of a war to test readiness and run until Aug. 31.

The region where the missiles were launched, Kittaeryong, is a known military test site frequently used by the North for short-range missile drills, said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

"So rather than a newly developed missile, it looks to be short range missiles they fired as part of their summer exercise and also in response to the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill," Kim said.

TRUMP BRIEFED

The White House said Trump had been briefed about the missiles but did not immediately have further comment.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately comment about the Saturday missile launches. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week credited the North with showing restraint by not launching a missile since the late July ICBM test.

Tillerson had said he hoped that the lack of missiles launches or other “provocative acts” by Pyongyang could mean a path could be opening for dialogue "sometime in the near future."

Trump also expressed optimism earlier this week about a possible improvement in relations. "I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us," Trump said of Kim.

23 PHOTOS
Guam seems unfazed by North Korea threats
See Gallery
Guam seems unfazed by North Korea threats
Pupils sit on the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Tourists frolic along the Tumon beach on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Tourists stroll along a road on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists frolic on the waters overlooking posh hotels in Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists wait for a bus in the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A tourist frolics in Tumon beach on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Residents do their daily routine Zumba class inside a mall on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists pose as they take a rest at a shed in Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists ride a bus in the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Local residents are pictured at the Tumon beach on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists snorkel on the waters off Tumon beach on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A view of the entrance of U.S. military Andersen Air Force base on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A boy plays near the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A pupil flies his kite on the fields of Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A South Korean tourist carries his child in the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
An amusement worker poses at the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
South Korean tourists stroll outside the Governor's Complex on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo speaks during an interview with Reuters at the government complex on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
South Korean tourists stroll in Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists stroll in the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists take part in parasail off the waters of Tumon beach on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tourists stroll in the Tumon tourist district on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

North Korea's state media reported on Saturday that Kim had guided a contest of amphibious landing and aerial strike by its army against targets modeled after South Korean islands near the sea border on the west coast.

In a report that lacked the North's usual belligerent threat against the United States, its official KCNA news agency quoted Kim as telling its Army that it "should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea."

On Wednesday, Kim ordered the production of more rocket engines and missile warheads during a visit to a chemical institute of the Academy of Defence Science, an agency that he fostered to develop its ballistic missile program.

Diagrams and what appeared to be missile parts shown in photographs published in the North's state media suggested Pyongyang was pressing ahead with building a longer-range ballistic missile that could potentially reach any part of the U.S. mainland including Washington.

It is also believed to be developing a new solid-fuel missile of a class that it has previously tested in submarine launches.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul, Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

 

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.