ROK sees DPRK's missile launch as provocative

Updated: 2014-02-28 11:40


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SEOUL - The Republic of Korea's Defense Ministry said Friday that the missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday can be seen as "intended provocation".

"What North Korea (DPRK) fired off yesterday was seen as missiles of scud type given the trajectory and speed of the missiles," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a routine press briefing.

Kim said that the launch was seen as "intended provocation" as the incident came after the family reunion ended and the annual war games between Seoul and Washington began, noting that a DPRK patrol ship also violated the maritime border in western waters earlier this week.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday that the DPRK fired off four short-range missiles from Gitaeryeong area on its southeastern coast at around 5:42 pm local time, toward the northeastern waters.

The projectiles were estimated to be scud missiles with a range of more than 200 km, the first launch of such missiles since July 4, 2009.

The DPRK's move came after the ROK and the United States began their annual joint war games as scheduled despite the DPRK's demand for the delay or cancellation of the drills.

The "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training exercise kicked off Monday morning, with participation of 12,700 US soldiers, including more than 6,000 forces from overseas bases.

With inter-Korean ties thawing, the US military would reportedly deploy no nuclear-capable bombers or aircraft carrier during this year's exercises.

The two Koreas ended a six-day reunion of families separated by the Korean War on Tuesday at the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort where hundreds of Koreans met their long-lost relatives for the first time in six decades. It was the first family reunion in more than three years.

A DPRK patrol ship violated the disputed inter-Korean maritime border Monday night, when the the ROK-US war games began.

The spokesman said that Seoul and Washington will conduct their joint military drills regardless of this incident, adding that the South Korean military will prepare for provocations from the DPRK.