N. Korea launches rockets for 2nd straight day

March 23, 2014

 

The 7,700-ton Aegis destroyer, King Sejong the Great, appears in waters off the Yellow Sea, Wednesday, during a naval drill held ahead of the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the Cheonan which falls on March 26.  (Yonhap)

The 7,700-ton Aegis destroyer, King Sejong the Great, appears in waters off the Yellow Sea, Wednesday, during a naval drill held ahead of the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the Cheonan which falls on March 26. (Yonhap)

By Chung Min-uck

North Korea fired 16 more short-range rockets from its east coast early on Sunday, for a second straight day, in an apparent protest against the ongoing South Korea-U.S. joint military drill, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said later the same day.

The North twice launched the FROG ground-to-ground rockets from its eastern city of Wonsan between 00:52 and 2:31 a.m. Sunday. The projectiles flew about 60 kilometers into the sea, according to the JCS. It also fired the same type of rockets from the same test site early on Saturday.

“The military is maintaining vigilance against additional launches,” the JCS said.

Pyongyang has fired a spate of Scud ballistic missiles and artillery using multiple rocket launchers from its east coast since late February apparently in protest of the ongoing joint military drill between Seoul and Washington. The communist-state claimed that the launches were for the purpose of “self-defense.”

The two-week war game Key Resolve ended in early March, while the two-month field training, Foal Eagle, runs through April 18.

The North has denounced the joint drills as a rehearsal for invasion, while Seoul and Washington have said they are defensive in nature.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo are scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting to discuss ways to effectively deter North Korea’s nuclear programs on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Hague nuclear summit.

The latest rocket launch came three days before Seoul marks the 4th anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in the western sea. South Korea blamed North Korea for the sinking that killed 46 sailors, but Pyongyang has denied any involvement.

The 1,200-ton South Korean navy ship exploded and sank in the Yellow Sea on the night of March 26, 2010, killing 46 sailors. A South Korean-led international investigation found that North Korea torpedoed the ship, though Pyongyang denied any involvement.

Tensions rose further in 2010 after North Korea unexpectedly shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing two Marines and two civilians, as well as damaging houses and military buildings.

The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

 

 

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