SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday fired three ballistic missiles into its eastern sea, which followed a week of verbal warnings against the South over its decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system to better cope with North Korean threats, South Korean officials said.
The short-range missiles were launched from inland and flew about 500 to 600 kilometers (310 to 375 miles) before crashing into the sea, displaying a sufficient range to target the southern part of South Korea, where Seoul and Washington have decided to station the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
A statement from the Pentagon said that U.S. Strategic Command systems tracked “what we assess were three North Korean missile launches.” It said two were presumed to be Scud tactical ballistic missiles, “followed by the presumed launch of a No Dong intermediate range ballistic missile.”
It said the missile launches did not pose a threat to North America.
North Korea routinely test fires short-range missiles and artillery systems but it tends to do more launches in times of tension with the outside world. North Korea also launched what was presumed to be a ballistic missile from a submarine on July 10, according to U.S. and South Korean officials, a day after U.S. and South Korean military officials held a news conference to officially announce they would deploy the THAAD system in South Korea.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced last week that the southeastern rural town of Seongju had been picked as the site for the THAAD deployment.
Seoul and Washington had been discussing deploying the THAAD system since North Korea conducted a fourth nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch earlier this year.
The North last Monday said it will take “physical counter-action” as soon as the THAAD location is announced and has issued further warnings through its state media after Seongju was announced as the site.