North Korea launched another missile test on Tuesday (July 19), by firing three ballistic missile into the sea of its east coast. The launches happened between 03:45 AM local time (20:45 GMT on Monday) and 04:40 AM, stated the South Korean military, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the US, the first two missiles was the short-ranged Scuds, while the last one was the mid-ranged Rodong or Nodong. The missile was launched from the Hwangju region and flew for about 500 to 600 km – far enough to “strike all of South Korea including Busan,” said the South Korean military in a statement. Busan is a port city in the southern area of the country.
The increasing frequency of North Korea’s missile tests is deemed a threat that grows very quickly, said the South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. Meanwhile, the US Strategic Command had tracked the launches and concluded that they still posed no risk to US’ interests.
North Korea has been conducting strings of military tests since 2006. A test of mid-range missiles in June which only happened recently was considered the most successful among the missile launchings. Seoul had said that the North would probably launch its fifth nuclear test imminently, after the fourth that took place in January.
Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani had also voiced the country’s disagreement and condemnation against North Korea’s missile tests. He said the move was an act of provocation that harms both regional and international security.
The latest launches happened after US and South Korea’s statement of the plan regarding the deployment of THAAD, an anti-missile system that would be placed in the town of Seongju, south-east of South Korea. The move had reportedly triggered local’s opposition.
China and Russia have stated that both are against the anti-missile’s deployment in concern of their own national security. However, US and South Korea insist on continuing the THAAD’s plan, stating that the anti-missile plan would only be used to counter North Korea’s aggressive moves that would harm the South’s security interests.