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North Korea readies rocket launchers on east coast

Updated: 2014-03-18 03:36:34 (KST)
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South Korea's defense ministry officials say they think North Korea's missile launches on Sunday were in response to ongoing annual military drills between Seoul and Washington.


"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."

Kim said Monday that the ministry is keeping a close eye on the possibility of future provocations as the launch pad used for the missiles launches is currently on standby.
Pyongyang did not give any prior notification of Sunday's launches from the North's east coast.
The rockets, which were shot into the East Sea, are believed to have a range of 70 kilometers.
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 precision is low, but the missiles can carry up to 550 kilograms of explosives. It can also deliver chemical weapons capable of destroying a military corps."

North Korea has test-fired six Scud missiles along with 11 rockets from multiple rocket launchers in the midst of 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 them as a rehearsal for invasion.


"The latest rocket launches 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.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News."


Reporter : hyunbin@arirang.co.kr

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