Pentagon Calls North Korean Missile Launches 'Very Serious Threat'
00:17, Mar 7, 2017
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"North Korea today fired four ballistic missiles nearly simultaneously and they flew some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles)", Abe said in parliament.
South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, condemned the launches as a direct challenge to the global community and said Seoul would swiftly deploy a USA anti-missile defence system despite angry objections from China.
The South Korean military says North Korea fired off four ballistic missiles this morning.
The missile launches came as Seoul and Washington launch annual joint military exercises, infuriating Pyongyang which condemns them as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
Monday's launch comes weeks after North Korea test-fired a new type of missile, the Pukguksong-2, a medium-long range ballistic missile.
Last year, North Korea tested its Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile eight times, with only one success.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's Day address that the North entered the final stage of preparations to test-fire an ICBM, an apparent threat that he is close to perfecting capabilities to strike the continental USA with a nuclear missile.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, while corroborating that the missiles flew for 1,000 kilometers, said that the splashdown occurred within Japan's EEZ, 250 kilometers west of Akita prefecture.
Last week North Korea's vice foreign minister Ri Kil-Song visited Beijing for discussions.
In Washington, the State Department strongly condemned the launches, saying the USA was ready to "use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat".
Shortly after the order was given, North Korea's missiles began exploding on launch, straying from their intended flight paths, or coming apart mid-flight.
This isn't the first timeNorth Korea has launched multiple missiles over this distance.
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Davis left open the possibility that more than four missiles were fired by North Korea.
Military experts estimate that North Korea will be able to make about 50 nuclear weapons by 2020.
In a letter to the United Nations security council on Monday, North Korea's ambassador Ja Song Nam claimed the joint exercises that began on 1 March were "the most undisguised nuclear war manoeuvres".
Japanese officials said three of the four missiles landed in the 200-nautical-mile offshore area where Tokyo has sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting resources. But Beijing is increasingly fed up with North Korea's antics and nuclear weapons program.
Analysts said the launches were a clear protest against the military exercises but also likely were aimed at sending a signal to the Trump administration that Pyongyang is determined to persist with its nuclear-weapons program.
The latest provocations could have an impact on the North Korea policy that the administration of US President Donald Trump is putting together.
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