NORTH KOREA FIRES MISSILES INTO SEA AS US-SEOUL WAR GAMES BEGIN

A South Korean television news programme reporting on Pyongyang firing two missiles into the sea yesterday. (Photo: AP)
A South Korean television news programme reporting on Pyongyang firing two missiles into the sea yesterday. (Photo: AP)

Seoul, 12 Jumadil Awwal 1436/3 March 2015 (MINA) – North Korea flouted United Nations resolutions yesterday by launching two Scud-type ballistic missiles towards the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, as the United States and South Korea started their annual joint military drills.

The two missiles, believed to be Scud-C missiles, were fired from near Nampo, a coastal city south-west of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, Today Online quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Flew across the peninsula for about 490km before crashing into the sea off North Korea’s east coast, the South Korean Defence Ministry said.

The ministry’s main spokesman, Mr Kim Min-seok, condemned the North’s missile tests as a “sabre-rattling provocation” and a violation of UN resolutions that banned Pyongyang from testing any ballistic missile-related technology. The ban was imposed after North Korea’s recent tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles raised fears that the country was developing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

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North Korea launched its missiles shortly after its military statement warned that it “will never remain a passive onlooker” to the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle annual joint war games between the US and South Korea, which started yesterday and is scheduled to last until April 24.

The military exercises involving tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops, were “dangerous nuclear war drills” aimed at toppling the North Korean government, a spokesman of the General Staff of the North Korean People’s Army said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea, ready to “bring earlier the final ruin of the US imperialists and their allies”, promised to respond in “Korean style” to attacks by conventional, nuclear or electronic means.

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Cyberattacks

The US has blamed North Korea for a cyberattack that hacked into Sony Pictures late last year. President Barack Obama warned in January that a government like North Korea’s would collapse over time, saying that the democratic influences of the Internet would inevitably penetrate the country, isolated as it was.

Yesterday, North Korea interpreted Mr Obama’s comment as an American intention to wage a cyberwar to overthrow its reclusive government.

Although Washington and South Korea called their annual military exercises defensive in nature, North Korea has typically responded to them with harsh rhetoric and military manoeuvres.

It launched a series of Scud and Rodong ballistic missiles, as well as shorter-range missiles and rockets last February and March to counter the allies’ joint drills. In March 2010, a South Korean warship exploded in waters near the Korean border, killing 46 sailors. Seoul attributed it to a North Korean torpedo attack.

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“If North Korea provokes us, we will respond decisively and powerfully and make them sorry to the core of their bones,” Mr Kim, the South Korean spokesman, said yesterday.

Analysts say that North Korea is raising tensions on the peninsula during the joint military drills to consolidate domestic unity by inspiring fears of a foreign invasion, as well as to gain leverage in dealing with Washington and Seoul. (T/P001/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)