North Korea fires 25 missiles into East Sea

March 17, 2014

This is the fifth missile test by North Korea this year already

This is the fifth missile test by North Korea this year. (Korea Times file)

This is the fifth missile test by North Korea this year. (Korea Times file)

By Kwon Mee-yoo

North Korea fired 25 short-range missiles toward the East Sea Sunday, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

This is its biggest missile test this year and the latest in a series of provocative actions protesting ongoing joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.

According to the defense ministry, the first salvo of 10 missiles was launched around 6:20 p.m. KST, followed by an additional eight at 8:03 p.m. and seven more at 9:28 p.m.

The launches from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan lasted 10 minutes each and the missiles flew about 70 kilometers before landing in the sea.

“Following the North’s launch, our military has been watching closely for further provocations,” the ministry said in a statement. “We urge Pyongyang to stop provocative actions that will heighten military tension in neighboring countries.”

The ministry assumed that the weapons were FROG short-range surface-to-surface missiles.

This is the fifth missile test by North Korea this year.

On Feb. 21 and 27, the North fired four projectiles and four Scud missiles, respectively. Two other Scuds were fired on March 3, followed by seven more short-range missiles on March 4.

This series of launches are considered a protest against the joint military drills that Pyongyang claims are a rehearsal for an invasion.

Key Resolve 2014 was held from Feb. 24 to March 6, and currently the eight-week Foal Eagle is underway and will last through April 18.

The U.S. has also urged Pyongyang to halt such provocative actions.

Washington has been hard on the Pyongyang’s effort to resume the six-party talks over its nuclear programs, saying it won’t resume discussions unless North Korea shows a willingness to demonstrate commitments toward denuclearization.

The Sunday missile test came two days after the North’s National Defense Commission threatened to demonstrate its nuclear deterrence. “Additional measures will be taken to demonstrate our might one after another as long as the U.S. nuclear threat and blackmail persists,” the commission said in a statement. “The U.S. had better roll back its worn-out hostile policy towards (North Korea) as soon as possible and shape a new realistic policy before it is too late.”