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DPRK fires projectile into sea

By Xinhua in Seoul | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-02 07:39

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired a short-range projectile, presumed to be a ballistic missile, off its eastern coast on Monday, the Republic of Korea's Yonhap News Agency said.

One official from the ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted as saying the projectile was a short-range rocket fired from a site in Chagang province at about 10:30 am.

The projectile, which flew about 220 km, was presumed to have come down in the sea.

It marked the DPRK's first firing of a short-range projectile from the province. The site is known as a base that houses Scud missiles underground.

As in the past, Pyongyang did not issue a no-fly, no-navigation warning before the launch to alert civilian ships and aircraft that might be on the missile's trajectory.

The ROK official said the projectile was presumed to be a ballistic missile, noting that there were possibilities for the rocket to be a newly developed tactical missile or a Scud with an altered range.

It was the 18th incident this year in which the DPRK has fired missiles or artillery shells.

Pyongyang has launched 108 projectiles since Feb 21, including Scud and Rodong ballistic missiles and Frog missiles. Some projectiles have been launched from multiple-rocket launchers.

The latest launch before Monday's was the firing on Aug 14 of five short-range projectiles, known to be new tactical missiles. It came ahead of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercise between the ROK and the United States.

The computer-assisted exercise, which began on Aug 18, ended a day earlier than scheduled last Thursday, a move that appeared to appease the DPRK.

A day after the end of the exercise, the DPRK urged the ROK not to repeat annual war maneuvers with the United States, calling Ulchi Freedom Guardian "the most dangerous nuclear war maneuver for invading the north".

The ROK's military has claimed the exercise is an annual joint military drill of a defensive nature, but the DPRK has denounced it as a rehearsal for an invasion.

(China Daily 09/02/2014 page11)

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