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Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 09:22

DPRK fires three ballistic missiles

By Reuters

DPRK fires three ballistic missiles
This undated picture released from DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 23, 2016 shows a test launch of the surface-to-surface medium long-range strategic ballistic missile Hwasong-10 at an undisclosed location in DPRK. (KCNA / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)
SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired three ballistic missiles early on Tuesday which flew between 500 and 600 kms into the sea off its east coast, the Republic of Korea's (ROK) military said.

The missiles, which ROK's Yonhap News Agency said were presumed to be Scud types, were launched from an area in the DPRK's western region called Hwangju between 5:45 am local time (2045 GMT Monday) and 6:40 am, ROK's military said.

Tuesday's launches came days after ROK and the United States announced a final decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in ROK to counter threats from DPRK.

"The ballistic missiles flight went from 500 km to 600 km, which is a distance far enough to strike all of South Korea including Busan," ROK's military said in a statement. ROK is also referred to as South Korea.

Busan is an ROK port city in the south.

DPRK has test-fired a series of ballistic missiles in recent months, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including intermediate-range missiles in June and a submarine-launched missile this month.

DPRK's military had threatened to retaliate against the deployment of the THAAD system with a "physical response" once its location and time of installation were decided.

China has also sharply criticized the decision to base a THAAD battery in ROK, saying the move will destabilize the security balance in the region.

DPRK conducted its fourth test of a nuclear device in January, and activity at its nuclear test site has increased recently, according to media reports in ROK and Japan citing government officials, as well as a report by Washington-based DPRK monitoring project 38 North.

Following Pyongyang's January nuclear test and a February space rocket launch that was widely viewed as a missile test in disguise, the UN Security Council imposed tough new resolutions that further isolate DPRK.

In addition to the decision to base a THAAD system in ROK, the United States recently angered DPRK by blacklisting its leader Kim Jong-un for human rights abuses.

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