20 May 2013, 00:00

N Korean missile salvo ‘part of political chess game’ – Russian expert

кндр ракета кндр северная корея ракета северная корея спутник запуск

Analysts believe the latest missile firings by North Korea are part of a political chess game aimed at attracting international attention and extorting concessions.

The Russian expert on Korean affairs Dr Georgi Tolorai spoke about this to The Voice of Russia Sunday after the North Korean military fired four short-range anti-ship missiles into the Sea of Japan in exercises held on Saturday and on Sunday morning.

He said these launches posed no threat to anyone.

North Korea’s official media did not report the firings.

N. Korea test-fires another short-range missile: official

North Korea has launched another short-range missile, Yonhap news agency reported referring to the South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

North Korea on Sunday test-fired off fourth missile in two days reom its east coast, a Seoul official said.

The guided missile was fired into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) on Sunday afternoon, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP without elaborating.

On Saturday the communist state fired three short-range missiles off the east coast, apparently as part of a military drill, at a time when cross-border tensions remain high.

The North's short-range missile launches are not unusual but come at a time of heightened alert on the peninsula, following Pyongyang's February nuclear test which sparked tougher UN sanctions.

The South and US forces had earlier been on heightened alert for any test of medium-range Musudan missiles by the North, which for weeks made threats of nuclear or conventional attacks on Seoul and Washington.

A US defence official said early in May the two mid-range missiles had been moved from their launch site.

The South condemned Saturday's launches, even though they only involved short-range missiles.

They pose threats to the region and should be "stopped immediately", said the Seoul ministry that handles cross-border affairs on Sunday.

"We find it deplorable that the North does not stop provocative actions such as the launch of guided missiles yesterday," said unification ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok, speaking before the latest launch.

"We call on the North to take responsible actions for our sake and for the sake of the international community."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Moscow, also called for Pyongyang to "refrain from" further missile tests. He said it was time for it to resume talks with the international community and reduce tensions.

The US State Department Saturday urged the North to exercise restraint, without specifically commenting on the launches.

It was unclear what type of missiles were fired Saturday and Sunday.Seoul military officials quoted by Yonhap news agency said they may be KN-02 surface-to-surface missiles with a range of up to 160 kilometres (99 miles), or rockets of at least 300mm in calibre fired from a multiple launcher.

Cross-border relations have also been soured by the suspension of operations at a jointly-run industrial complex.

Kaesong Industrial Complex, established just north of the border in 2004 as a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, fell victim to the two months of elevated military tensions.

The North barred South Korean access to the zone and pulled out its own 53,000 workers early last month. Seoul withdrew the last of its nationals early this month.

When the South Koreans left, they loaded up cars with bundles of products, but were still forced to leave much stock behind.

The North last week rejected the South's call for talks on removing goods from the complex, calling it "a crafty ploy" to deflect blame for the suspension of operations.

"It is very regrettable that the North denigrates our offer for talks... and shifts blame for the suspension of the Kaesong complex to us," unification ministry spokesman Kim said Sunday, urging Pyongyang to come forward for talks as soon as possible.

S. Korea slams N. Korea's 'provocative' missile launches

South Korea Sunday condemned North Korea's latest short-range missile launches as "provocative" and again urged it to hold talks about a suspended jointly-run industrial park.

The North Saturday launched three short-range guided missiles off its east coast, apparently as part of a military drill, at a time when cross-border relations remain icy after months of simmering tension.

The South and US forces had earlier been on heightened alert for any test of medium-range Musudan missiles by the North, which for weeks made threats of nuclear or conventional attacks on Seoul and Washington.

The latest launch only involves short-range missiles. But it poses threats to the region and should be "stopped immediately", said the Seoul ministry that handles cross-border affairs.

"We find it deplorable that the North does not stop provocative actions such as the launch of guided missiles yesterday," said unification ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok.

"We call on the North to take responsible actions for our sake and for the sake of the international community."

The US State Department Saturday urged the North to exercise restraint, without specifically commenting on the launches.

Tensions had shown signs of abating after a US defence official said early in May that two Musudan missiles had been moved from their launch site.

Spokesman Kim also urged the North to respond to the South's repeated calls for talks about the jointly-run Kaesong industrial complex, where work has been suspended because of the political standoff.

Kaesong, established just north of the border in 2004 as a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, was the most high-profile casualty of two months of elevated military tensions that followed the North's atomic test in February.

The North barred South Korean access to the zone and pulled out its own 53,000 workers early last month. Seoul withdrew the last of its nationals early this month.

When the South Koreans left, they loaded up cars with bundles of products, but were still forced to leave many stocks behind.

The North last week rejected the South's call for talks on removing goods from the complex, calling it "a crafty ploy" to deflect blame for the suspension of operations.

"It is very regrettable that the North denigrates our offer for talks... and shifts blame for the suspension of the Kaesong complex to us," Kim said, urging Pyongyang to come forward for talks as soon as possible.

North Korea launches short-range missiles, South says

South Korea’s Ministry of Defense has detected three launches of short-range guided missiles by North Korea, it said.

Two launches were fired on Saturday morning and another one in the afternoon, reports Yonhap news agency.

The missiles were fired from the east coast into the Sea of Japan, the report says.

I'm a soldier on guard of the Korean revolution - А. Cao de Benós (Interview)

The South’s military says it is maintaining high level of readiness amid the developments.

Japan confirmed the report of the launches, saying its military had detected them too.

The South’s military says it is maintaining high level of readiness amid the developments.

The Korean Peninsula is emerging from the latest period of high tension, which started after the North conducted its third nuclear test in February. The test was met with condemnation and a new round of sanctions by the UN Security Council.

South Korea and the US conducted massive war drills shortly after the test, with the US sending some of its most powerful military hardware in a demonstration of strength. Pyongyang called the buildup a provocation and threatened to use its nuclear arsenal, if attacked. The North says the aggressive stance of Washington and Seoul justifies its development of nuclear weapons.

N Korea may have up to 200 mobile missile launchers - report

North Korea may have up to 200 mobile missile launchers, or twice the number previously estimated by South Korea’s authorities, South Korean media reported Friday.

South Korea’s state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) said that in line with a report submitted to the US Congress by the Pentagon, North Korea has probably accumulated up to 200 so-called transporter erector launchers (TEL), including up to 100 for short-range Scud missiles, 50 for medium-range Nodong missiles and 50 for long-range Musudan missiles, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Previously Seoul estimated that the reclusive communist state, known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), appeared to possess no more than 94 mobile launchers.

“The US report shows that North Korea is bent on expanding its missile program despite its continued economic difficulties. It is especially focused on certain asymmetric areas that can pose a threat to South Korea and US forces stationed in the South,” KIDA researcher Kim Sung-kurl said as quoted by Yonhap.

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula since December, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, followed in February 2013 by its third nuclear test.

The UN responded with sanctions. The start of recent joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.

Voice of Russia, AFP, RIA

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