The missiles were launched from the eastern province of Kangwon at 6.49 am and travelled roughly 250 km before plunging into the sea, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff, Efe reported. The launches occurred during the United States and South Korea’s annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises.
The White House said Trump had been briefed about the latest missiles but did not immediately have further comment.
The U.S. Pacific Command said that one of the three ballistic missiles had blown up immediately after blastoff, but that two others had traveled about 155 miles before splashing down. CNN reports that U.S. defense officials have determined that the missiles do not pose an immediate threat to North America or Guam.
The Pacific Command previously said that two of the North Korean missiles had “failed in flight”.
The reclusive nation successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. “And maybe, probably not, but maybe something positive can come about”.
Seoul said the war games will continue “even more thoroughly” in response to the launch, reports The Associated Press.
The US and South Korean militaries said the salvo of projectiles posed no direct threat to their territories. “Our prime minister told us to remain on high alert and do our best to respond to any situations in order to protect our people’s lives and property”. “The United States retains the authority, capability and responsibility to defend itself from attack by anyone, including North Korea“, he said.
The launch comes as allied troops continue a joint military exercise, condenamed Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG). The office “was well aware of the missile launches in real time, working with military and Department of Defense partners”.
But earlier this week the rhetoric appeared to be cooling – at least on the American side – as Trump expressed optimism about North Korea on Tuesday, saying of leader Kim Jong Un, “I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us”.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Diagrams and what appeared to be missile parts shown in photographs published in the North’s state media suggested Pyongyang was pressing ahead with building a longer-range ballistic missile that could potentially reach any part of the U.S. mainland. Solid fuel missiles are faster and easier to deploy, and harder to catch before they launch because there’s a lot less to be done in terms of launch preparation.
The launches come as tens of thousands of South Korean and USA troops take part in joint military drills in the south of the peninsula, which the North views as highly provocative.