North Korea has fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan, a Seoul military official said, one day after firing three short-range guided missiles. Meanwhile, South Korea has deployed precision-guided missiles on its border islands.
Seoul has placed Israeli precision-guided missiles capable of hitting North Korean targets on its Yellow Sea border islands, Yonhap news agency reported Sunday.
“Dozens of Spike missiles and their launchers have recently been deployed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands,” an official for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. “They can destroy [North Korea’s] underground facilities and can pursue and strike moving targets.”
The satellite-guided Spike missile has a range of about 20km (12.4 miles) and weighs 70kg (154lbs), according to military officials.
South Korea moved to place the Israeli missiles after Seoul confirmed that North Korea on Saturday had launched three short-range guided missiles off its east coast into the Sea of Japan.
Japan confirmed the report of the launches, saying its military had detected them as well.
Two launches were fired on Saturday morning and another one in the afternoon, the Yonhap news agency reported.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the missile launches and urged Pyongyang to return to talks on the nuclear issue in the six-party format.
Meanwhile, the US State Department Saturday called on the North to exercise restraint, without specifically mentioning the launches.
The US stations around 28,500 troops in South Korea, a carry-over from the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, between the warring sides.
The Korean Peninsula is emerging from the latest episode of tensions, which began February 12, 2013, when Pyongyang announced it had conducted an underground nuclear test, its third in seven years.
The test was met with harsh international condemnation and a new round of sanctions by the UN Security Council.
South Korea and the US responded with large scale naval manoeuvres, which Pyongyang called a provocation and threatened to use its nuclear arsenal if attacked.