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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

DPRK fires mid-range ballistic missile amid ongoing US-S.Korea war games

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:45, March 18, 2016

SEOUL, March 18 -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday fired a medium-range ballistic missile into east waters in what appeared to be a move to respond to the ongoing joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States and tougher-than-ever sanctions on Pyongyang.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying that the missile was launched around 5:55 a.m. local time (2055 Thursday GMT) from the western area of Sukcheon.

The missile, fired from a mobile launcher, flew about 800 km before falling off the DPRK's east coast. In consideration of the flying distance, it was believed to have been a Rodong ballistic missile.

One more DPRK projectile, estimated to have been a missile, was fired from the same place at around 6:17 a.m., but its trajectory disappeared from a radar screen at an altitude of about 17 km. It was estimated to have been detonated in the air.

It was the first time in about two years since March 26, 2014 that Pyongyang fired the Rodong missile, which can target the entire South Korean territory and major cities in Japan as it has a maximum range of about 1,300 km.

The missile launch came in an apparent show of force and anger at the ongoing joint annual war games between Seoul and Washington and harsher-than-ever sanctions on the DPRK over its latest nuclear test and rocket launch.

UN Security Council unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions in decades toward the DPRK earlier this month as Pyongyang tested what it claimed was its first hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6 and launched a rocket, which was condemned as a disguised test of missile technology, on Feb. 7.

Hours after the sanctions adoption, the DPRK fired six rounds of its new 300-mm multiple rocket launchers in protest. The artillery flew about 100-150 km and crashed off the DPRK's east coast.

Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles, estimated to have been Scud missiles, on March 10, three days after the spring war games kicked off. The Key Resolve command post exercise is set to end on Friday, but the Foal Eagle field training exercise will last until April 30.

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un had ordered tests of a nuclear warhead and ballistic missiles capable of delivering the warhead in a short time to enhance the credibility of its nuclear strike capability, according to the DPRK's KCNA news agency report on Tuesday.

Kim also guided a simulated ground test of a re-entry vehicle for technology needed to return a warhead into atmosphere from space to fall down and reach a target on the ground. It is regarded as the last major technology Pyongyang should master to develop a missile hitting the U.S. mainland.

In protest against the U.S.-South Korea war games, the DPRK threatened a pre-emptive and offensive nuclear strike against South Korea and the U.S. mainland.



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