North Korea's recent missile launchUpdated: 2014-02-28 AM 11:56:09 (KST)
Inter-Korean relations seemed to be going on the right track as seen with the success of the two rounds of reunions for war-separated families that ended early this week.
But on Thursday evening, Pyongyang launched four short-range Scud missiles into the East Sea.
For latest on the launch, we turn now to our Kim Hyun-bin, who is joining us in the studio.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said a few hours ago that North fired four projectiles, which, considering their speed and direction, are presumed to have been short-range Scud missiles.
This is the North's first scud missile launch in five years.
The ministry said the launch seems to have been planned to coincide with the start of Seoul's annual military drills with Washington.
It follows an incursion by a patrol boat over the de facto maritime border between the two countries on Monday, which the Seoul's defense minister said at the time was sent "to test the South Korean military."
The ministry said the South Korean military is prepared for any provocations from the North.
Just hours before the launch, Seoul had proposed a round of Red Cross talks to resolve humanitarian issues, including reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
The talks are expected to be held as early as next week.
On top of that, a private organization had recently offered to send supplies and food aid to the North worth nearly 180 thousand U.S. dollars.
What might be some of the reasons for the launch?
There are some conflicting views.
With the recent improvement of inter-Korean relations, some experts believe the North executed the launch to get leverage during negotiations between the two Koreas.
Other experts believe that this was a protest against the strong condemnation of the North's nuclear program and human rights violations by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Korean broadcaster YTN reported, citing government officials, that North Korea also fired off four projectiles from its eastern coast, north of Wonsan, into the East Sea in a northeasterly direction last Friday, during the second day of the inter-Korean family reunions.
The projectiles were believed to have a range of around 100 kilometers.
The South Korean government is keeping a close eye on the recent provocations and plans to set up countermeasures against future provocations.
Thank you Hyun-bin for your report. That was our Kim Hyun-bin, reporting on North Korea's latest scud missile launch.
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