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Iran Press TV

Pyongyang fires missiles amid Seoul-Washington war games

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:14AM

North Korea has fired short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in response to the ongoing war games between the United States and South Korea.

The ballistic missiles, fired from North Hwanghae province on Thursday, flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) and fell into the water off the country's east coast, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Moon Sang Gyun said the missiles are believed to be Scud-type missiles.

South Korea and the US started large-scale military drills Monday with about 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans taking part in the two sets of war games which are to continue until the end of April.

Pyongyang said the exercises are "undisguised nuclear war drills," which threaten the North's national sovereignty.

It warned of "indiscriminate" nuclear attacks against the US and South Korea in response to "even the slightest military action."

The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military tensions since the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed, meaning the two Koreas remain technically at war.

Tensions have escalated escalated since the start of 2016 after the North's nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch on February 7.

Pyongyang says the rocket launch was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit but Washington and Seoul say the move was a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear arsenal in an effort to protect itself from the US military, which occasionally deploys nuclear-powered warships and aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons in the region.

Pyongyang to 'liquidate' Seoul assets

On Thursday, the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement that it will "liquidate" South Korean assets at the closed Kaesong factory park and the Diamond Mountain resort, both of which are in North Korea.

The statement said Pyongyang will also take a series of steps to slap "lethal" military, political and economic blows on Seoul.

Early in February, Seoul pulled out of the jointly-operated Kaesong border industrial zone after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket carrying what it called a satellite.

At the time, Pyongyang described the shutdown as "a declaration of war" and designated Kaesong as a military zone.

North Korea is already under UN sanctions over launching missiles considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic and designed to deliver nuclear warheads.

Senior officials in Pyongyang have frequently said they are merely boosting defense capabilities in the face of enemy threats.

The country is irked by joint military maneuvers by South Korea and the US and views them as direct threats to its security.

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