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Nth Korea fires missiles into Sea of Japan

27 Août 2017

North Korea fired several short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast early on Saturday, South Korea and the USA military said, as the two allies conducted annual joint military drills that the North denounces as preparation for war.

One appeared to have blown up nearly immediately while two flew about 250 km (155 miles) in a northeasterly direction, Pacific Command said, revising an earlier assessment that two of the missiles had failed in flight. It said earlier that the third missile appears to have blown up immediately.

The U.S. Pacific Command says its assessments indicate that the three missiles failed. David Benham, a PACOM spokesman said in a statement Saturday.

North Korea launched a barrage of missiles Saturday, less than one week after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the country for showing "restraint" in its weapons program. It later amended its statement to say the missiles flew "approximately 250 kilometers in a northeastern direction".

The presidential office in Seoul said the USA and South Korean militaries will proceed with their ongoing war games "even more thoroughly" in response to the launch.

The officials say the North has developed the multiple-tube launchers because they are cheaper than short-range, Scud-type ballistic missiles and because they enable more projectiles to be fired.

Ordinarily, North Korea doesn't grant CNN access inside the country when the drills take place.

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The test came just days after senior US officials praised North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un for showing restraint in not firing any missiles since late July. In July, it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, which North Korea claims could reach "anywhere in the world".

Heightening concerns about North Korea's aims, state media last week reported that leader Kim Jong Un visited the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defence Sciences and inspected designs for two new long-range missiles.

The White House said that President Donald Trump - who has warned that he would unleash "fire and fury" if the North continued its threats - was briefed on the latest North Korean activity and "we are monitoring the situation".

Tillerson had said he hoped that the lack of missile launches or other "provocative acts" by Pyongyang could mean a path could be opening for dialogue "sometime in the near future".

Throughout the year, North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary ultimatum to North Korea, warning Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the U.S. or it will "face fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Nth Korea fires missiles into Sea of Japan