Seoul says North Korea has fired three short-range rockets into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula as South Korea and the US prepare for a joint military drill.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that the rockets were launched from the North’s port city of Wonson and travelled 220 kilometers (135 miles) before landing in waters.
The apparent test takes place ahead of US-South Korean military exercises scheduled to start on Monday.
Pyongyang earlier demanded that the drills be cancelled unconditionally. It also called for the full withdrawal of all US forces from South Korea.
The annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian drill, which is scheduled to take place on August 18, is expected to involve between 400,000 and 500,000 US and South Korean forces.
The North warned Seoul that its upcoming wargames would push the “Korean Peninsula to the brink of a war and increase the danger of a nuclear war.”
Earlier this month, Pyongyang called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session over the joint military drill.
“As long as the US is continuing with provocative, aggressive joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, the counter actions for self-defensive nature by the DPRK (North Korea) will become annual and routine,” said North Korea’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Ri Tong Il.
Ri also criticized Washington for engaging in “nuclear blackmail” by bringing nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea.
He further slammed the UN Security Council for its double standards, saying the council condemns Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests, but ignores provocative exercises off the Korean Peninsula by Washington and Seoul.
Pyongyang says that the drills are a practice for invasion, and that North Korea will take additional measures to demonstrate its might as long as threats from the United States persist.
North Korea fired some short-range missiles in a show of force against the recently held military drills between Seoul and Washington. The two-month-long exercises, which drew to a close on April 18, involved nearly 13,000 US forces and some 200,000 South Korean troops.