SEOUL (Reuters): North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution, as South Korean and US forces conducted massive war games.
The North also announced on Thursday it has scrapped all agreements with the South on commercial exchange projects and would “liquidate” South Korean assets left behind in its territory.
North Korea has a large stockpile of short-range missiles and is developing long-range and intercontinental missiles as well. The missiles fired on Thursday flew about 500 km off its east coast city of Wonsan and were likely from the Soviet-developed Scud series, South Korea’s defence ministry said.
Japan, which is within range of the longer-range variant of Scud missiles or the upgraded Rodong missiles, lodged a protest through the North Korean embassy in Beijing, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.
North Korea often fires short-range missiles when tensions rise on the Korean peninsula. Pyongyang gets particularly upset about the annual US-South Korea drills, which it says are preparations for an invasion.
The US and South Korea remain technically at war with the North because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armed truce instead of a peace agreement.
Around 17,000 US military personnel are participating alongside some 300,000 South Korean troops in what South Korea’s Defence Ministry has called the “largest-ever” joint military exercises.