North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the East Sea early Wednesday morning for the first time since July 2009. The firing comes after a string of rocket launches over the last two months coinciding with annual South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North fired two ballistic missiles from Sukchon, north of Pyongyang, at 2:35 a.m. and 2:42 a.m.
The JCS believes they were Rodong missiles with a range of around 650 km. They fell into the open sea between South Korea and Japan.
Why North Korea fired the missiles is open to question, but some speculate that it was an intentional provocation on the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan.
Others believe it was a response to a summit between South Korea, Japan and the U.S. on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Tuesday that denounced the North’s nuclear program.