North Korea test-fires missiles amid tensions

Seven missiles fired into East Sea as one phase of US-South Korean exercises ends

North Korea test-fires missiles amid tensions

World Bulletin / News Desk

North Korea test-fired seven missiles on Thursday evening in an apparent protest at annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises, according to a South Korean military statement.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff statement issued Friday said the launches “appear to be the North's provocations in opposition to the joint exercises,” Yonhap state news agency reported.

The brief statement added: "The North Korean military fired multiple rounds of ground-to-air missiles into the East Sea from Seondok, South Hamkyong province, at around 6-7 p.m. [1100-1200GMT] yesterday."

Three types of missile were believed to have been fired, including a SA-5 with a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles) that had not been tested previously, the military said. Media in Pyongyang did not report the tests.

On Friday, the U.S. and South Korea concluded one part of the joint drills, Key Resolve. A second part, dubbed Foal Eagle, will run until April 24. Both exercises began on March 2, when Pyongyang signaled its opposition by firing two short-range Scud-C missiles.

The spring exercises are regularly condemned by North Korea as preparations for an invasion, although the allies insist they are defensive.

Under UN resolutions, the North is barred from test-firing missiles. The two countries remain technically at war as the 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.

Seoul and Pyongyang are also embroiled in a row over wages at a joint industrial complex near the heavily militarized border.

Last month, the North decided to increase the minimum wage for its workers. On Friday, a spokesman for the South’s Unification Ministry said Seoul could “never accept any unilateral system change.”

More than 50,000 North Korean workers are employed by 124 South Korean companies at the Kaesong complex, earning a minimum of $70.35 a month. The South says average wages are double this.

The North’s proclamation of a raise to $74 a month came with the insistence that it would take 15 percent of that wage as “social security.” The South said wage rises must be agreed by a joint management committee.

The unification spokesman said Pyongyang’s failure to respond to a proposal for dialogue was “regrettable.”


Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mart 2015, 11:57