North Korea has condemned a recent test-firing of a ballistic missile by South Korea, calling it a “grave provocation.”
North Korea’s Academy of the National Defense Science said in a statement on Monday that Pyongyang would deal strictly with provocations, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported.
“If a US missile or the South Korean puppet forces’ missile falls on any part of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), it will pound all the strongholds of the enemy with merciless shower of missiles to reduce them to ashes,” read the statement carried by the North’s KCNA news agency.
On April 4, South Korea said it had test-fired on March 23 a new ballistic missile, capable of carrying a one-ton payload to any part of North Korea.
The missile, which can carry a one-ton payload up to 500 kilometers (310 miles), was produced under a deal reached with the US in 2012 to extend the range of the South’s ballistic missile systems.
Tensions have been on the rise in the region in recent weeks as Pyongyang accuses Seoul and Washington of “rehearsing for an invasion,” as two allies began joint military exercises at the end of February despite Pyongyang’s calls for them to be called off to avoid military tensions between the two Koreas.
North Korea has recently launched rockets and ballistic missiles and has also threatened to conduct a new nuclear test.
On March 31, South Korea exchanged fire with the North across a disputed maritime border, with South Korean military sources saying their country had responded to shells that had been fired from its northern neighbor and had landed in “South Korean waters.”
The exchange of fire came shortly after North Korea announced it would be carrying out a live-fire drill near the Yellow Sea border with the South.