NKorea tests two short-range missiles

SEOUL: North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles on Thursday, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said, a move that aggravates the already high tensions following Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test and UN sanctions imposed as punishment.

The missiles were fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan this afternoon, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity citing department policy. He did not say what types of missiles were launched, but Yonhap news agency said they were ground-to-ship missiles.

North Korea had earlier issued a no-sail zone in waters off its east coast until July 10 for military drills. That designation has been viewed as a prelude to such missile tests.

The new launches are expected to exacerbate the tensions running high since Pyongyang’s May 25 underground nuclear test and a series of missile firings. The UN Security Council adopted a tough sanctions resolution last month to punish the communist regime.

“We had expected that they will fire short-range missiles at any time,” South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told The Associated Press at a reception held at the US ambassador’s residence to mark the US Independence Day, which falls this weekend.

“It’s not a good sign because they are demonstrating their military power.” The United States is seeking Chinese support to enforce the UN sanctions. Philip Goldberg, who is in charge of coordinating the implementation of sanctions against the North, was to meet with Chinese officials in Beijing today, the US Embassy said.

The North has also threatened to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. Last month, a Japanese newspaper reported that the North could test-fire a long-range missile toward Hawaii as early as around July 4. The US has increased defences around Hawaii.