N Korea fires shots in show of force


Wed, Mar 05, 2014 - Page 6

North Korea yesterday fired a volley of rockets from multiple launchers into the sea in an apparent show of force to coincide with South Korea-US joint military exercises, South Korean officials said.

Before noon, North Korea fired three shots using a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), a high-mobility automatic launcher capable of firing surface-to-surface rockets, the South’s defense ministry said.

The projectiles were launched from the North’s eastern port of Wonsan and flew 55km into the Sea of Japan (known as the “East Sea” in South Korea), it said.

The North fired four more MLRS shots from 4:17pm that flew about 155km, the ministry said.

“North Korea is believed to have tested two different types of MLRS,” a ministry spokesman said.

South Korean troops have increased their vigilance following a series of North Korean missile launches that drew condemnation from South Korea and the US.

North Korea test-fired four short-range Scud missiles off its east coast last week, followed by two more missiles on Monday.

South Korea called the missile launches a “reckless provocation,” while the US demanded the North show restraint and abide by UN Security Council resolutions.

The Scuds are at the longer edge of the short-range spectrum, with an estimated reach of 30km to 800km — capable of striking any target in the South.

It is not unusual for North Korea to carry out such tests, which often go unreported by South Korea.

However, Washington said the latest missile tests breached UN resolutions that require Pyongyang to abandon its ballistic missile program.

The missile tests have clearly been timed to coincide with annual South Korea-US military exercises that started a week ago and run until the middle of next month.

Pyongyang routinely condemns the South-US joint exercises as rehearsals for invasion.