March 03, 2015 09:36
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday morning just as South Korea and the U.S. started massive annual joint exercises.
"The North fired two short-range ballistic missiles from Nampo into the East Sea between 6:32 a.m. and 6:41 a.m. Monday," a Defense Ministry official here said.
They flew for 495 km and 493 km at a maximum speed of Mach 4.3 and an altitude was 134 km.
The missiles, which were fired in a northeasterly direction, flew across the North Korean mainland and the Hodo peninsula in Wonsan, and fell into the open sea about 50 km south of the Kalma peninsula .
Military authorities believe they are Scud-D or Scud-ER missiles with a range of 700 to 1,000 km.
The North moved the mobile launch vehicles scores of kilometers away from the missile base for a surprise launch.
The ministry believes the firing was a protest against the South Korea-U.S. drills dubbed Key-Resolve/Foal Eagle.
In a statement prior to the launch, a spokesman for the North Korean Army's General Staff threatened "not to look idly on the joint South Korea-U.S. drills." "They will regret it for a long time," he added.
Military authorities tightened surveillance for fear that the North will fire more rockets near the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, or the demilitarized zone during the drills.
Last year, the North fired some 90 ballistic missiles and rounds from the new rocket launchers when the annual South Korea-U.S. drills began.
The Key Resolve exercise continues until March 13 and the Foal Eagle drills until April 24.
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