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Monday, September 5, 2016, 14:15

DPRK fires 3 ballistic missiles into eastern waters

By Agencies

DPRK fires 3 ballistic missiles into eastern waters
Graphic on the reported launch of three missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

SEOUL/TOKYO/HANGZHOU – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday fired three ballistic missiles into eastern waters ahead of the country's National Day, the defense ministry of the Republic of Korea (ROK) said.

A ROK defense ministry official told Xinhua that the missiles were launched at about 12:14pm local time from its western areas near Hwangju county in North Hwanghae province.

Pyongyang test-fired three Rodong ballistic missiles into the East Sea, traveling some 1,000 km and falling into Japan's air defense identification zone. Rodong is a mid-range ballistic missile that has a range of 1,000 km to 1,300 km.

While talking with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe termed the DPRK’s missile launch as an “unforgivable” act, a Japanese government spokesman said.

Abe also agreed with the ROK President Park Geun-hye, whom he met at the G20 summit, to closely cooperate regarding the missile launch, the Japanese government said in a statement.

DPRK fires 3 ballistic missiles into eastern waters
People watch a TV news program showing a file footage of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s ballistic missile that the DPRK claimed to have launched from underwater, at Seoul Railway station in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Aug 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The ROK denounced the DPRK missile firing. The Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement that the DPRK's nuclear and missile developments are a provocative act showing threat to the Korean peninsula as well as neighboring countries and the international community.

The missile launches were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the statement added.

Japan's defense ministry issued a warning for possible falling debris from the projectiles.

What types of missiles were fired and how far they traveled are still unknown. The ROK military and Japan defense ministry are analyzing the details.

Seoul's military authorities had already detected preparations for Pyongyang's ballistic missile launches, according to the Yonhap news agency report.

The Japan defense ministry said it is gathering information along with the coast guard as to whether any vessels or aircraft in the region along the projectiles' flight paths and landing spots in the Sea of Japan have been damaged.

The DPRK has recently voiced its opposition to the US-ROK joint military drills in the region which concluded last Friday, with the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise comprising some 25,000 US troops.

The DPRK also stands opposed to US-ROK decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to the ROK to counter potential threats from the DPRK.

China and Russia have strongly opposed the deployment

The spate of recent launches, government officials here have said, have also been a show of defiance against UN Security Council resolutions slapped on the DPRK for its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile technology programs, which are banned under the council's resolutions.

The missile launches came less than two weeks after Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its east coastal town of Sinpo, where a submarine base is known to be located, on Aug 24. The submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) flew some 500 km eastward, falling inside Japan's air defense identification zone for the first time.

The ROK defense ministry official said over the phone that the military has been closely monitoring the DPRK troops.

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