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DPRK test-fires 3 short-range missiles in show of force
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles in a show of force against the decision between Seoul and Washington to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korean soil.
Yonhap news agency quoted South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as saying that the DPRK fired off three ballistic missiles, which are believed to have been a Scud-C type, from the western region of Hwangju in North Hwanghae province between 5:45 a.m. and 6:05 a.m. local time.
The missiles were directed toward the East Sea, traveling about 500 to 600 kilometers, which are a flight enough to reach the entire South Korean territory.
It marked the first time in about four months since March that Pyongyang launched Scud-type missiles.
The test-launch came six days after Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy one THAAD battery to the Seongju county, some 250 km southeast of Seoul, by the end of next year.
The DPRK's military threatened to take"physical measures"against THAAD when the deployment site is determined in response to the THAAD deployment decision.
THAAD is an advanced U.S. missile defense system designed to shoot down missiles at a relatively high altitude of 40-150 km using a hit-to-kill technology. The DPRK's short-range missiles are known to fly at a lower altitude of about 20 km incapable of being intercepted by THAAD missiles.
On July 8, military authorities of South Korea and the United States announced their decision to install the THAAD system to an unidentified region in South Korea.
A day later, the DPRK test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast to protest against the installation decision. In times of military conflict, it is hard to detect and track missiles launched from a submarine with the THAAD's X-band radar.
Seoul's unification ministry said Monday that Pyongyang appeared to have been in a state of conducting another nuclear test at any time given increased activity in its main Punggye-ri nuclear test site where the country carried out four underground nuclear tests since 2006.
The move of many trucks and personnel reportedly started to be spotted in the test site since July 8, with the activity observed over the past week having been the most brisk in recent months.
[Source: Xinhua, Seoul, 19Jul16]
East China Sea Conflict
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