North Korea Fires Four Ballistic Missiles; Three Land in Waters Controlled by Japan
(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued March 06, 2017)
North Korea has fired four ballistic missiles, with at least three landing in Japanese-controlled waters, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told his parliament.

"North Korea today fired four ballistic missiles almost simultaneously, and they flew some 1,000 kilometers," Abe said on March 6. He said three of them landed in the sea area of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The South Korean military said that "several missiles" were fired into the Sea of Japan. It said South Korea and the United States were analyzing flight data to ascertain further details.

The South's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council in response to the launches, the president's office said.

It was not immediately clear what type of missiles were fired, but the North has conducted a series of ballistic- missile tests over recent months.

It has also said it is in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States.

The firings could be in retaliation for a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise on March 1 designed to test defenses against potential North Korean aggression.

Pyongyang criticized the maneuvers, calling them a preparation for war against the North.

"Now that the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces again kicked off the dangerous nuclear war drills against [North Korea] at its doorstep, our army will counter them with the toughest counteractions," a North Korean military spokesman said a day after the maneuvers.

North Korea last conducted a ballistic missile test on February 11. The launch was condemned by the United States, South Korea, Japan, the United Nations, and many other countries.

Officials in Seoul said that launch was aimed at "testing the response from the new U.S. administration" of President Donald Trump, who took office on January 20.

The UN has barred North Korea from any use of ballistic-missile technology since it first conducted a nuclear test in 2006.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls the missile program a defensive move against U.S. and South Korean hostility.

The United States has called on Pyongyang’s main ally, China, to help restrain the North.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war after the Korean War of 1950-53 ended with an armistice and not a peace pact. The United States has 28,500 troops based in South Korea.

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