SEOUL, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched two short-range ballistic missiles Monday morning on its east coast to stage an armed protest against South Korea-U.S. annual war games that began a week earlier.
"North Korea (DPRK) fired off two projectiles, estimated to be short-range ballistic missiles, at 6:19 a.m. today in Wonsan areas (in the DPRK's southeast coast) toward the northeastern open waters," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a press briefing.
Kim said that it was a "provocative act" as the missiles were launched without any advance navigational warnings, urging Pyongyang to immediately stop such military provocations.
The missiles, which the DPRK launched Monday morning, were believed to be Scud-C type or Scud-ER missiles as they flew more than 500 kms.
The DPRK reportedly has missiles of 300-kilometer-range Scud-B type and of 500-kilometer-range Scud-C type. It also has Scud-ER missiles, a modifier of Scud-D missiles, with a range of more than 700 kms.
On Feb. 27, the DPRK fired off four short-range missiles, allegedly of Scud-type missiles, from the same area. The four missiles flew around 220 kms at an altitude of more than 100 kms.
In addition, the DPRK fired off four artillery shells in the east coast with new multiple rocket launchers, which the South Korean military called KN-09 with the maximum range of 180 kms, on Feb. 21 when the first family reunion in more than three years entered the second day.
Hundreds of people from the two Koreas met their long-lost relatives for six days through Feb. 25 at the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang.
Kim said that the DPRK seemingly sought to raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula by firing missiles when South Korea and the United States are conducting their annual military drills, calling the DPRK's recent missiles launches as a "provocative armed protest."
Pyongyang launched Scud missiles for the first time since July 4, 2009. In addition, it was the first time the DPRK fired such missiles when Seoul and Washington are carrying out joint military exercises, the spokesman said.
The two allies began their annual joint war games despite the DPRK's calling for delay or cancellation of the drills. The "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training exercise started on Feb. 24, with participation of 12,700 U.S. soldiers, including more than 6,000 forces from overseas bases.
In what appeared to be a protest against the joint annual drills, a DPRK patrol ship also violated the disputed inter-Korean maritime border on the night of Feb. 24.
The series of military provocations came amid thawing signs of inter-Korean relations. Some experts said that the DPRK made provocations recently to seize the initiative in possible inter- Korean talks.
Seoul and Pyongyang have agreed to hold another senior-level dialogue when both sides feel comfortable after holding the vice ministerial-level talks, the first senior-level dialogue in around seven years, at the border village of Panmunjeom in mid-February.
DPRK launches four short-range missiles
SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired four short-range missiles, local media reported Thursday citing South Korean Defense Ministry.
The missiles were launched from Gitaeryeong area on the DPRK's southeastern coast at around 5:42 p.m. Thursday, toward the northeastern waters. Full story