North Korea Launches 3 Short-Range Missiles
By Maxine Wally | May 18, 2013 09:41 AM EDT
The South Korean Defense Ministry announced Saturday that North Korea has launched three short-range guided missiles into the ocean.
According to the New York Times, Pyongyang set off two missiles in the morning, then another in the late afternoon.
These missile tests are relatively routine. One such test was reported in March.
North Korea also launched a three-stage rocket in December, along with its third nuclear test in February. This led the United Nations Security Council decided to make sanctions against Pyongyang more stringent.
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Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok said that South Korea would “remain vigilant,” in the face of potential civil war.
“We remain vigilant and prepared in case the launching of these missiles might be followed by a military provocation by the North,” he said.
Such military provocation is not out of the question, as officials from North Korea have been threatening their neighbors in the south with hostile rhetoric for months, warning them of potential civil war, advising the international community to keep out of it.
Officials on the Korean Peninsula have been keeping their eyes peeled for North Korean missile tests since April, when South Korea reported that mobile launch vehicles had taken up positions on the North’s east coast.
The vehicles transported intermediate-range missiles named Musudan. Musudan missiles have never received testing. Pyongyang has threatened to attack American bases in Guam-these arms are thought to be the missiles North Korea could use against the Pacific island.
The missiles set off on Saturday, however, were not Musudans.
Earlier in May, American governmental officials claimed that North Korea wanted to ease tensions with the South Koreans, as Pyongyang had reelend in their Musudan mobile launch vehicles.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula seem to have lessened in the past few weeks in general, after the U.S. and South Korea finished their yearly military drills.