North Korea Seems to Have Launched Ballistic Missiles into the Sea

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 27, 2014, 5:40 a.m.

North Korea on Thursday launched what ap­peared to be tac­tic­al bal­list­ic mis­siles in­to the sea, an uniden­ti­fied South Korean De­fense Min­istry of­fi­cial said.

The sus­pec­ted mis­sile drill by Py­ongy­ang took place a few days after the United States and South Korea began their yearly joint mil­it­ary ex­er­cises, which are seen as one of the al­lies’ biggest de­terrence-mes­saging tools to the North, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted. North Korea tra­di­tion­ally con­demns the man­euvers and some­times car­ries out timed pro­voca­tions, such as last year’s de­ploy­ment of in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­list­ic mis­siles to its east­ern coast.

“Our mil­it­ary is pre­pared to counter any pro­voca­tions” from North Korea, South Korean de­fense chief Kim Kwan-jin was quoted as telling a gath­er­ing of re­tired seni­or of­ficers on Wed­nes­day, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

Mean­while, uniden­ti­fied U.S. of­fi­cials told the Wash­ing­ton Times this week that the space rock­et North Korea suc­cess­fully launched in Decem­ber 2012 in­cor­por­ated Amer­ic­an, Chinese and European tech­no­logy. Debris from the Unha 3 rock­et was re­covered from the Sea of Ja­pan and ana­lyzed by South Korean and U.S. spe­cial­ists.

The ex­perts dis­covered the de­trit­us in­cluded U.K trans­mit­ters, Swiss-pro­duced elec­tric­al com­pon­ents and Amer­ic­an cir­cuits, as well as tech­no­logy pro­duced in China and East­ern Europe. The dual-use com­pon­ents were built with­in the last few years, sug­gest­ing they were secretly im­por­ted by Py­ongy­ang in spite of a mul­tilayered U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil sanc­tions re­gime tar­get­ing its bal­list­ic-mis­sile pro­gram.

Much of the tech­no­logy used to send rock­ets in­to space is rel­ev­ant for the de­vel­op­ment of in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­siles. North Korea claims its space-rock­et launches are peace­ful. The Se­cur­ity Coun­cil tightened sanc­tions against the North as pun­ish­ment for the Decem­ber 2012 launch.

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