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Missile launches risky gambit by N. Korea to make United States take notice

Missile launches risky gambit by N. Korea to make United States take notice

"The United States strongly condemns the DPRK's ballistic missile launches tonight, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology", State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said.

Reacting to North Korea's action, Japanese prime minister Shinzoe Abe said, "We will not tolerate the launches, which are clearly in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions".

Hwang also said that Seoul should swiftly complete the deployment of a us anti-missile defense system after North Korea launched four missiles earlier in the day.

While North Korea has successfully tested hydrogen bombs, many have dismissed their military and missile capabilities as too underdeveloped for serious world concern.

Last year, North Korea tested its Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile eight times, with only one success.

Leader Kim Jong-Un is pushing for a nuclear and missile programme that can deter what he calls US and South Korean hostility towards the North.

North Korea launched a projectile from near Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan Province towards the East Sea at 0736 KST, South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff said early on Monday.

Last week North Korea's vice foreign minister Ri Kil-Song visited Beijing for discussions. The North fired the missiles 22 days after it test-fired an advanced Bukguksong-2 missile last month.

It also came sharply on the heels of the February 13 slaying in Malaysia of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. North Korean missile launches around the time of the annual U.S. -South Korea alliance for a preemptive attack and has asked for the exercises to stop.

The country is developing a long-range missile, which, if successfully launched and with its maximum estimated range, could put Australia and parts of the U.S., among other countries, within range.

The missiles flew 1,000km and landed in the Sea of Japan.

That falls within the 200-nautical-mile offshore area where Tokyo has sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting resources, known as its exclusive economic zone.

The launch happened while Abe was in the United States visiting President Donald Trump. Pyongyang apparently wanted to display a confrontational posture to Washington and Seoul before USA and South Korean forces start full-scale drills with advanced weapons. North Korea is opposed to the exercises which it claims are a rehearsal for an invasion.

"Since this year's joint drills will be the "largest-ever", North Korea could carry out the "largest-ever" protest against it, including an ICBM launch or a nuclear test", he said.

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