The firing of the four missiles follows the commencement of the US-South Korean joint annual military drills that run until late April. The said drills are a contentious point between North and South Korea, with North Korea claiming them an act of invasion rehearsal.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to North Korea’s latest missile firings as becoming “a new kind of threat,” reports Associate Press.
The launches were reportedly made from the North Pyongan province in the Tongchang-ri area where other launches have been conducted. They follow last week’s warnings from the North’s General Staff of the Korean People’s Army that Pyongyang’s reaction to the two-month long South Korean army drills with the US would be the “toughest” yet.
The official North Korean news outlet, KCNA, also had quoted the anonymous spokesman for the Korean People’s Army that the North will “mercilessly foil the nuclear war racket of the aggressors with its treasured nuclear sword.”
According to KCNA, the military said in a statement, “Our army will counter them with the toughest counteractions as it already declared.
“This stand of ours we clarified before the world is by no means empty talk.”
North Korea has received international condemnation for its aggression in the region, with China being the latest to implement their own sanctions, refusing to accept coal from the isolationist country. The suspension of coal imports will hit the North Korean currency hard, accounting for 90 percent of its coal trade and making up a bulk of its income.
UN resolutions were also implemented but appear to be having little to no influence in swaying Kim Jong-un’s stance.
Only last month, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam was allegedly assassinated at Kuala Lumpur airport. The Feb. 13 killing has raised questions on the use of the deadly VX nerve agent being manufactured for larger-scale use.
Talks were scheduled between North Korean diplomats and former Washington D.C. officials to occur in the United States, but were called off after the assassination, with the State Department deciding not to issue the North Korean diplomats’ their visas to travel to New York.
The North Korean situation will continue to be monitored closely.
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