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South Korea says North Korea fired short-range projectile

South Korea says North Korea has fired a short-range projectile from an area near its eastern coast in what appeared to be another weapons test seen as a response to ongoing military drills between Washington and Seoul.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said the projectile was fired from an area near the North Korean port city of Wonsan and flew about 125 miles towards an inland area in the country's north-west.

An official with the joint chiefs of staff said it is unclear whether the projectile crashed inland or overflew its target and landed in the sea. He said it was also unclear whether the projectile was a ballistic missile or artillery shell.

North Korea usually test-fires its missiles and artillery into the sea.

North Korea has fired a slew of short-range missiles and artillery shells into the sea and has threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul since the start on March 7 of the annual springtime war games between the United States and South Korea.

North Korea also launched a medium-range ballistic missile into waters off its east coast for the first time since 2014 and touted a new artillery system it says could turn the South Korean capital into a "sea of flames".

An official from Seoul's Defence Ministry said it is too early to tell whether North Korea used a land target to test the accuracy and range of its weapons.

North Korea routinely tests short-range missiles and artillery systems but tends to do more launches in times of tension with the outside world. It condemns the annual military drills between Washington and Seoul as a rehearsal for an invasion.

Tensions are particularly high this year because the drills are the largest ever and follow a recent North Korean nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch.

Washington and Seoul say the drills are defensive in nature and they have no plans to invade North Korea.


From Belfast Telegraph