Saturday, July 4, 2009

DPRK fires 5 short-range missiles

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired one additional short-range missile on Saturday, raising the total number of missiles fired in the day to five, local media reported.

According to South Korean Joint Forces, the DPRK fired an additional missile off the east coast from a base near Wonsan, Gangwon Province at around 02:50 p.m. (0550 GMT), in addition to four short-range missiles fired at the same place earlier in the morning.

The DPRK started with two scud-type missiles between 08:00 - 08: 30 a.m. (2300-2330 GMT Friday), after which shot two more at around 10:45 a.m. (0145 GMT) and noon (0300 GMT).

All the five missiles are estimated to have a range of 400- 500km, the official said.

The missile firing came two days after the DPRK test-fired four short-ranges off its eastern coast, which South Korean officials described as part of routine military drills.

"Although the missiles fired on Thursday appear to be part of routine military drills, the recent scud missiles seem to have political purposes as they were fired a day before the US Independence Day," the official said.

The DPRK, since May, has been spotted with actions in preparation for firing a new mid-range missile, as well as scud missiles, Yonhap said.

The military authorities, however, said no sign has been observed from either its eastern Musudan-ri base or a new Tongchang-ri base on its west to conclude that an intercontinental ballistic missile launch is imminent.

In April, the DPRK threatened to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile in protest of the UN Security Council's presidential statement which "condemned" the DPRK's earlier long- range rocket launch.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2009)

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