North Korea launches 3 short-range ballistic missiles into sea

North Korea launches 3 short-range ballistic missiles into sea

North Korea launches 3 short-range ballistic missiles into sea

Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said that South Korean assessment doesn't necessarily contradict the U.S. evaluation that the launches involved ballistic missiles.

"There is the possibility that the North will launch a ballistic missile on the Foundation Anniversary [September 9], and we are preparing for that", the NIS said.

The first and third missiles launched at 6:49 a.m. and 7:19 a.m. JST, respectively, failed in flight, while the second launched at 7:07 a.m. appeared to have blown up nearly immediately, according to the U.S. Pacific Command based in Hawaii.

By resuming the tests, North Korea defied repeated urgings from the United States and South Korea to stop weapons trials and other provocations to pave the way for dialogue.

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The North has often tested missiles with similar scope, but the use of a multiple-tube launcher shows an advance in capability.

Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told South Korean lawmakers at a closed door parliamentary session that it has detected signs of North Korea preparing for another nuclear test at its Punggye-ri underground test site.

The presidential office in Seoul said the USA and South Korean militaries will proceed with their ongoing war games "even more thoroughly" in response to the launch.

The NIS also suggested that North Korea would carry out another missile launch in the coming days either during the UFG drill, or around September 9, marking the Day of the Foundation of the Republic.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a target-striking contest of the special operation forces of the Korean People's Army (KPA) to occupy islands in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on August 25, 2017.

The launch comes weeks after North Korea created a tense standoff with the United States by threatening to lob some of its missiles toward Guam.

On Sunday state media discounted Tillerson's "restraint" statement and one from US President Donald Trump later in the week that Kim "is starting to respect us".

"North Korea gains information from every missile launch, whether it succeeds or whether it fails", said Bruce Bennett, senior analyst at the Rand Corp. think tank.

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