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DPRK fires missiles to protest drills

By Agencies in Seoul and Pyongyang | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-30 07:31

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired short-range ballistic missiles on Sunday to protest the recent military exercise of Republic of Korea's marine corps in the eastern waters, a researcher at a local think tank said.

"It would be appropriate to see DPRK's firing of short-range ballistic missiles this time as an armed protest against the ROK marine corps' military drills in the East Sea on Wednesday," Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the private Sejong Institute in Seoul, said.

On June 25, the ROK's marine corps staged military exercises, which the DPRK's Rodong Shinmun denounced on Saturday as a rehearsal for a war of aggression. The three-year Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950.

Citing the Rodong Shimun reports, Cheong said the DPRK's recent missile launches should be viewed as a protest against the United States and the ROK following the marine corps' military exercise on the anniversary of the Korean War.

The DPRK fired a short-range missile, presumed to be Scuds, at about 4:50 am and 4:58 am on Sunday into waters off its east cast. The missiles flew about 500 km, the ROK military said.

According to an ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff official, the DPRK fired the missiles without designating no-sail zones, which the ROK military views as a clear provocation.

On Thursday, the DPRK test-fired three short-range projectiles. Those missiles flew about 190 km.

The DPRK's official KCNA said the test came at a time when the United States, the ROK and other allied forces were becoming "extremely reckless in the moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and unleash a war of aggression".

On Friday, the DPRK announced that it had test-fired "newly developed cutting-edge ultra-precision tactical guided missiles", without specifying when the launch took place.

DPRK leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test-fire at the central monitoring post, according to the official KCNA news agency, which lauded the new weapons as "another shining success" in the efforts to manufacture "high-precision, lighter, automatic and intelligent weapons and equipment".

The launches come only days ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Seoul. During the July 3-4 trip, Xi's first presidential journey to the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese president is scheduled to meet ROK President Park Geun-hye.

DPRK said the launch was "part of its routine military exercise" and that there should be no affect on planned governmental talks between ROK and Japan on Tuesday, a ROK foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by Japanese media.

Xinhua - AP - Reuters

(China Daily 06/30/2014 page11)

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