Seoul, March 10, 2016: According to South Korea’s military department, two shot-range ballistic missiles were fired by North Korea into the sea off its east coast city of Wonsan early on Thursday, flying approximately 500 km (300 miles)
Already equipped with a large stockpile of short-range missiles, North Korea is still developing long-range and intercontinental missiles.
The already heightened tension on the Korean peninsula after the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and launched a long-range rocket last month coincide with the reports of the missiles being fired, leading to new UN Security Council and bilateral US sanctions.
Supervised by leader Kim Jong Un who ordered his military to be prepared to launch pre-emptive attacks against enemies, and using a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) from Wonsan, The north fired six rockets into the sea last week.
Kim said on Wednesday his country has miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on airborne missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal in his first direct comment about nuclear warhead miniaturization.
State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on Kimâ€™s claim to have miniaturized nuclear warheads and accused him of â€œprovocative rhetoric.â€
â€œIâ€™d say the young man needs to pay more attention to the North Korean people and taking care of them than in pursuing these sorts of reckless capabilities,â€ Kirby said.
The Pentagon said this week it had not seen North Korea demonstrate a capability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead. But Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the department was working on US ballistic missile defenses to be prepared.
North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 but its claim to have set off a miniaturized hydrogen bomb has been disputed by the US and South Korean governments and many experts.
US and South Korean troops began large-scale military drills this week, which the North called â€œnuclear war movesâ€ and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive.