UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

N Korea fires ballistic missile into Sea of Japan

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:7PM

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from a launcher at a southwestern missile site into the Sea of Japan.

The launch took place at a location in the country's Sukchon County on Friday, said a spokesman with South Korea's Defense Ministry, adding that the missile was fired at 5:55 am (2055 GMT Thursday) and flew about 800 kilometers (497 miles) into the Sea of Japan.

He did not confirm the type of missile, but South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited military sources as saying that it was a Rodong missile -- a medium-range missile that can fly as far as 1,300 kilometers (807 miles).

On Tuesday, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un ordered the country's military to prepare to conduct multiple ballistic missile launches and a nuclear warhead explosion test “in a short time.”

Earlier this month, he had tasked the military with conducting nuclear tests using miniaturized nuclear warheads, which he claims the country has produced.

Pyongyang also claims that it has succeeded in a simulated test of a re-entry vehicle aimed at returning a nuclear warhead safely back to the atmosphere from space during a recent missile launch.

US: North Korea fired two missiles

Meanwhile, a US defense official said on Thursday that North Korea has actually fired not one but two ballistic missiles, describing the move as a violation of UN resolutions.

"The US tracked the launch of two ballistic missiles from North Korea. Both are believed to be Nodong MRBMs," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in reference to medium range ballistic missiles.

"These launches are a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions," the official added.

'Washington closely monitoring situation'

A few hours after the launch, the US State Department said it is closely monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula without actually confirming Pyongyang's missile launch.

"We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations," State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said, adding that the US "will continue to coordinate closely” with its our allies and partners in the region.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016. It has also carried out various missile tests, including one last month, which it claimed was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit. The launch was condemned by a number of countries as a disguised missile test.

Pyongyang has been the target of hard-hitting United Nations sanctions over the nuclear tests and missile launches.

Reacting to its latest nuclear test, the UN Security Council passed a raft of economic sanctions against the country earlier this month.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list