North Korea is reported to have launched several missiles, heightening tensions

Posted August 29, 2017

The South Korean military has reported that North Korea launched a series of unidentified projectiles into the Sea of Japan at 6:49 AM local time.

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.

Earlier this month, North Korea said it was ready to send missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean following comments from President Donald Trump that if Pyongyang made any more threats they would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The missiles used would not have the ability to strike Guam, the United States said.

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"The first and third missiles at 11:49am and 12:19pm failed in flight".

Chinese navy on Friday held live fire drills in the Indian Ocean and flew bombers near Japanese and Taiwanese territories even as its ally North Korea fired missiles into the East China Sea in defiance of the United Nations, which has imposed additional sanctions on the rogue regime in Pyongang.

North Korea test-fired two ICBMs in July, which analysts say may put much of the US mainland within range, including Los Angeles and Chicago. The Chinese air drills coincided United States reconnaissance flights over the Korean peninsula following Kim Jong-un's Guam threat.

North Korea had walked back from the threat to lob missiles toward Guam, but there had been concerns that hostility will flare up again during the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian drills between the allies that run through August 31. "Initial assessment indicates three short-range ballistic missile launches", the USPACOM statement read.

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Tensions had eased since a harsh exchange of threats between Pyongyang and Washington after US President Donald Trump had warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un he would face "fire and fury" if he threatened the US.

North Korea is developing a new type of nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching any point in the mainland United States, according to photographs released by state media.

Meanwhile South Korean office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the projectiles were launched from the North's eastern Kangwon province and flew in a northeasterly direction about 250 km into the sea.

On Wednesday, Kim ordered the production of more rocket engines and missile warheads during a visit to a chemical institute of the Academy of Defence Science, an agency that he fostered to develop its ballistic missile programme.

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