North Korea on Thursday afternoon fired four presumed ballistic missiles into the East Sea, just a day after the reunions of families separated by the Korean War ended.
"The North fired four projectiles which we presume were short-range ballistic missiles from Kitdaeryong in Anbyon, Kangwon Province in a northeasterly direction into the sea," a Defense Ministry official here said. "We presume the missiles to have a range of more than 200 km."
A military source said the firing was either an exercise or a show of force in response to the ongoing joint South Korea-U.S. military drills.
The projectiles were probably Scud-series ballistic missiles, military authorities speculated.
In Kitdaeryong, a mountainous area about 40 km south of Wonsan, trucks carrying missiles and launchers are easily concealed.
The government and military authorities believe Pyongyang has no intention of seriously dampening an ongoing cross-border detente given that the missiles had a short range and were not fired toward the South.
On Monday, a North Korean patrol boat crossed the de facto maritime border in the West Sea three times, in what was probably another exercise in coat-trailing.
Some other pundits speculate that the missiles were fired in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry describing the North as an "evil place."