North Korea fires 25 short-range missiles into East SeaUpdated: 2014-03-17 AM 11:53:23 (KST)
Another story we are following this afternoon.. is yet another provocation from North Korea.
The North Korean military fired off dozens of short-range missiles into the East Sea on Sunday.
For more, we connect live to our defense ministry correspondent Kim Hyun-bin, who is standing by at the Ministry of National Defense.
Within the last few hours, defense ministry officials said they think North Korea's missile launches on Sunday were done in response to annual military drills between Seoul and Washington that are still going on.
"North Korea fired off 25 missiles at three different times on Sunday. We view this as an armed protest against our joint military exercises with the U.S. North Korea needs to stop its provocations."
The U.S. State Department said Sunday that it is well aware of the missile launches and urged North Korea to stop its provocations, which it said are escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang did not give any prior notification about the launch.
The rockets, which were shot into the East Sea, are believed to have a range of 70 kilometers.
They were launched between 6:20 p.m. and 9:32 p.m., Korea time, from a location near Wonsan along the east coast.
Experts say it's not unusual for North Korea to test-fire missiles, but it is unprecedented for the regime to fire off so many in one day.
Officials in Seoul believe the rockets were Soviet-made surface-to-surface FROGs, which lack precision but are very powerful.
The missiles can carry a 5-hundred-50 kilogram warhead and are capable of delivering high explosive, nuclear or chemical warheads.
The South Korean military and the U.S. have strengthened their surveillance and are urging the North to stop heightening tensions in the region.
As I mentioned, this is just the latest in a series of launches
Over the last few weeks, North Korea has test-fired six Scud missiles along with 11 rockets from multiple rocket launchers.
So officials in Seoul believe this frantic activity of test-firings is linked to North Korea's disapproval of the joint drills between Seoul and Washington?
Yes, the Defense Ministry says these firings are almost certainly in protest against the annual military exercises, which started late last month and will run through mid-April.
Seoul and Washington say the drills are purely defensive, but Pyongyang routinely condemns the drills and calls them a rehearsal for invasion.
These latest rocket launches also came just two days after Pyongyang threatened to demonstrate its nuclear deterrence.
Those comments seem to be a firm indication North Korea may be preparing a fourth nuclear test in the near future.
Back to you guys.
Well, we hope that isn't the case and these test-firings stop once the drills end next month. Thank you, Hyun-bin. That was our Defense Ministry correspondent Kim Hyun-bin reporting on North Korea's test-firing Sunday of 25 short-range missiles.
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