North Korea Test-Fires 3 Ballistic Missiles

North Korea Test-Fires 3 Ballistic MissilesNorth Korea Test-Fires 3 Ballistic Missiles

North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles on Tuesday, in further defiance of the international community and in apparent reaction to the planned deployment of a US defense system in the South.

The launches drew swift condemnation from the United States and Japan, which vowed a coordinated response to Pyongyang’s repeated violations of UN sanctions that bar it from weapons tests, RT reported.

They come as North Korea’s isolation deepens after it said this month it was severing all diplomatic channels with the US.

Two SCUD missiles flew between 500 and 600 kilometers into the Sea of Japan, while a third, believed to be Rodong intermediate range ballistic missile, was fired about an hour later.

The trajectory of the Rodong missile was still being analyzed, spokesman Jeon Ha-Kyu of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The SCUD missiles’ range is such that they could strike anywhere within South Korea, the military said, adding that the latest tests were presumed to be linked to the North’s recent threats.

Pyongyang last week said it would take “physical action” after Washington and Seoul announced the deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile defense system.

The announcement of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, was prompted by a series of missile launches this year that analysts say demonstrate that the North is making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.

Another military source that the SCUD missiles would likely be Pyongyang’s weapon of choice if it were to target places like Seongju, where the THAAD system will be deployed.

The North test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on July 9, following back-to-back tests of a powerful new medium-range missile on June 22.

Those two missiles achieved a significant increase in flight distance over previous failed launches and were believed to be of a much-hyped, intermediate-range Musudan missile–theoretically capable of reaching US bases as far away as Guam, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in June.

The North previously launched relatively short-ranged SCUDs in March, as it flexed its muscles in response to joint US-South Korea military drills just south of the border.