Photographer: Pedro Ugarte/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles Into Sea

  • South’s military calls latest tests a ‘reckless provocation’
  • Two missiles could’ve reached all South Korea, one maybe Tokyo

South Korea accused North Korea of a "reckless provocation" Tuesday after the country test-fired three ballistic missiles, the latest in a series of launches amid tensions over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program.

The South Korean military said in a briefing that two of the weapons fired were presumed to be short-range, Scud-like missiles capable of striking throughout the country. The third might have been an intermediate-range Rodong missile with a maximum range of 1,300 kilometers (800 miles), putting Tokyo within striking distance.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the country lodged protests over the firing of the missiles, two of which fell into the Sea of Japan, which is also known to South Koreans as the East Sea. The government was unable to say anything definitive about the third. The missiles were fired off North Korea’s east coast between 5:45 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and flew about 500 to 600 kilometers, South Korea’s defense ministry said.

North Korea has threatened to retaliate over South Korea’s agreement to place a U.S.-operated missile-defense system on the peninsula. The decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or Thaad, also drew a rebuke from China, which has urged Seoul and Washington to cancel the deployment, saying it would escalate tensions.

On Monday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Kim’s government might be planning to conduct a fifth nuclear test in violation of United Nation’s ban. South Korean and U.S. military officials told the Yonhap News Agency that they detected a spike in activity at a nuclear test site in the northwestern part of the country.

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