North Korea Tests Five Missiles

February 9, 2015

New York Times:

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired five short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Sunday in a demonstration of its improving missile technology, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

The five projectiles were launched from locations near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and flew about 125 miles northeast before plunging into the sea, a Defense Ministry spokesman here said on the customary condition of anonymity.

The missile launchings came a day after North Korea said that its leader, Kim Jong-un, had witnessed the test-firing of a new antiship missile.

Under Mr. Kim, the North has conducted missile and rocket tests more often than in the past. It is developing an intercontinental ballistic missile and trying to make a nuclear warhead small and sophisticated enough to fit onto the missile, according to United States and South Korean officials.

Some of the North’s frequent tests of short-range missiles in recent years have indicated that the country is developing missiles capable of more efficiently targeting United States and South Korean military bases south of the inter-Korean border, South Korean officials have said.

Last month, North Korea offered to impose a moratorium on nuclear tests if the United States and South Korea suspended their annual large-scale joint military drills. Washington quickly rejected the proposal, and the two countries plan to start the joint war games in March.

North Korea has called the drills a rehearsal for invasion and has often responded with its own military exercises and missile tests. In recent weeks, Mr. Kim has overseen field exercises by his military and vowed that he felt no need to negotiate with the United States, according to North Korean media.

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