Korea fires multiple anti-ship missiles: S. Korean military

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States

The launch also defies efforts by Mr Moon to improve relations with the South and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"We will continue to coordinate with the United States and South Korea to gather and analyse information, and maintain a high level of alert", said Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The apparent short-range surface-to-ship missiles flew some 125 miles from the North Korean eastern coastal town of Wonsan and into the Sea of Japan, reaching a maximum altitude of 1.2 miles, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pyongyang has ordered three ballistic missile launches, a surface-to-air missile, and Thursday's cruise missile tests since the South's President Moon Jae-in took power in early May. "The only things North Korea can gain from these provocations are economic isolation and economic difficulties".

Shortly afterwards, on May 30, the United States conducted its first ever test of a Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor with a capacity to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), that Washington said was planned "years in advance".

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Two US aircraft carriers and their escort vessels have carried out naval maneuvers in the Sea of Japan within the last two weeks in a show of force directed at Pyongyang, the US military has said.

The Global Times, published by China's official People's Daily, said in an editorial that no matter the outcome of the environmental study, South Korea's announcement could reduce friction.

"It's irresponsible and it is destabilizing what is already a very sensitive situation".

He said the United Kingdom was looking at details of the launches and it's possible "that they come underneath a threshold to count as a violation".

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, says the programme is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

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That was in response to a spate of recent ballistic missile tests which violate United Nations sanctions. Analysts say the latest test appeared to be aimed at keeping up pressures on Moon to wrest concessions.

Meanwhile, South Korea yesterday said it had found what appears to be a North Korean drone equipped with a camera on a mountain near its border with the North.

"The U.S. trusts the (South Korean government's) official stance that the THAAD deployment was an alliance decision and it will not be reversed", a Pentagon spokesman said.

The other two would be sent home, as they had requested, the ministry official said.

On May 14, the North launched a "Hwasong-12" mid-to-long-range ballistic missile from north of Pyongyang, followed by the firing of a Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile, also known as KN-15, a week later from another site north of the capital.

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"The great success of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, which we are sure to achieve, will mark a historic watershed moment in the failure of the USA hostile policy against us", North Korean state media claimed, asserting that a nuclear-armed long-range missile would guarantee a viable nuclear deterrence strategy.

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