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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

South Korea says North test-fired short-range projectile

Iran Press TV

Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:43PM

North Korea has test-fired a short-range missile on its eastern coast, the South says amid heightened tension between the two neighbors.

According to a statement released by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the projectile was fired from an area near the North Korean port city of Wonsan at 5.40 p.m. local time (0840 GMT) on Tuesday and flew northeastward for some 200 kilometers (124 miles).

"We are closely monitoring the situation and standing ready for any situations," the statement read.

Meanwhile, Seoul's Defense Ministry spokesman said the missile appears to have fallen on land unlike previous tests when projectiles were fired into the sea.

Another unnamed official from the ministry also noted that it was too early to tell whether Pyongyang used a land target to test the accuracy and range of its weapons.

Tuesday's test-firing was the third such launch by the North in two weeks in response to joint Seoul-Washington military maneuvers. Pyongyang views the drills as preparations for war and a direct threat against its security.

The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric since the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul remain technically at war.

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama will meet his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a nuclear security forum in Washington to discuss North Korea's nuclear program.

Tensions between the two Koreas escalated since the start of 2015 after the North's nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.

Pyongyang said the rocket launch was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington and Seoul denounced the move as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

North Korea has pledged 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.

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