North Korea fired missiles into the sea along its east coast early this morning. South Korea’s Defense Ministry does not currently have any information about the purpose of firing four short-range missiles by their neighbors.
The missile firing by North Korea comes just days after the beginning of military exercises between the United States and South Korea. The firing of short-range missile is reportedly common during military exercises. North Korean officials have repeatedly denounced the joint military exercises between America and South Korea as preparations for war.
Earlier this month North Korea became angry when a nuclear capable US B-52 bomber “made a sortie” over South Korea. Despite rhetoric and posturing, the B-52 bomber flight did not trigger an immediate significant escalation of tension between the three countries.
According to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, the North Korea short-range missiles were believed to have the range of about 125 miles, which would not have allowed them to reach Japan. The East Sea is also known as the Sea of Japan. A new United Nations report described North Korea as a state that “does not have any parallel in the modern world.”
The village of Pyongyang has separated North and South Korea since the Korean War. Posturing and saber rattling coming out of Pyongyang last year prior to the war games with the United States included threats of nuclear strikes to preempt the planned military activity. North Korea contends that the declaration of armistice which ended the Korea War in 1953 is null and void.
The majority of leaders and observers following the North Korea threat claim that the rogue nation is still “years away” from having the technology to put a nuclear warhead on a missile. But, the same observers maintain that the country does possess plenty of conventional military weapons, including medium-range ballistic missiles.
A South Korean Baptist missionary who had been held in North Korea appeared in a news conference in Pyongyang arranged by the government in the North on Thursday. The missionary said, possibly under duress, that he had been plotting to build “underground churches” in North Korea to help undermine the government. Kim Jong-uk, 50, described himself as a criminal and then apologized for the “anti-state crime.” Jong-uk also stated during the press conference in North Korea that h had been working for the South Korean National Intelligence Service.
Although North Korean officials had announced it had arrested a South Korean spy last November, leaders had not identified the man despite repeated requested by the South, until this morning.