Skip to main content

Report: North Korea launches short-range missiles

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Report: The missiles were fired away from South Korean waters
  • North Korea fired three short-range missiles, South Korean Defense Ministry is quoted as saying
  • They were fired into the sea off the Korean Peninsula's east coast, Yonhap reports
  • Tensions in the region have eased since a peak last month

Are you from South or North Korea? Send us your experiences.

(CNN) -- North Korea launched three short-range guided missiles into the sea off the Korean Peninsula's east coast Saturday, South Korea's semi-official news agency Yonhap cited the South Korean Defense Ministry as saying.

The ministry said it had detected two launches in the morning, followed by another in the afternoon, Yonhap reported.

The missiles were fired in a northeasterly direction, away from South Korean waters, the ministry said.

South Korea has beefed up monitoring on North Korea and is maintaining a high-level of readiness to deal with any risky developments, the ministry added, according to Yonhap.

According to the Arms Control Association, a U.S.-based organization, short-range guided missiles are generally classified as those traveling less than 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles.)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, tours a frontline military unit, in this image released July 16 by state run North Korean Central News Agency. A recent United Nations report described a brutal North Korean state "that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, center, tours a frontline military unit, in this image released July 16 by state run North Korean Central News Agency. A recent United Nations report described a brutal North Korean state "that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world."
Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Kim Jong Un\'s military Photos: Kim Jong Un's military
North Korea rattles saber again
Memories of fighting for North Korea
Orphaned and homeless in North Korea

Tensions in the region have eased in recent days since a fraught period last month that included near daily North Korean threats of war.

U.S. and South Korean officials feared at that time that Kim Jong Un's regime was planning to carry out a test launch of longer-range ballistic missiles, believed to be Musudans. The South Korean government says they have a maximum range of 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles).

Andrew Salmon, a journalist and author based in the South Korean capital, Seoul, said North Korea's reported launch of short-range missiles Saturday should not cause the same degree of concern as the launch of a satellite or medium-range Musudan rocket.

"It's a short-range tactical weapon. If any other country launched this kind of weapon, it's a routine test, nobody would be too worried. It's really simply because it's North Korea doing this that it raises concerns," he said.

The situation is much less tense in the region than it was last month, Salmon said.

"The North Koreans have significantly de-escalated their bellicosity and their rhetoric since the end of April," he said. "The South Korean government, I suspect, will not be strongly condemnatory of this test because right now they are very, very keen to get the North Koreans to the negotiating table."

The recent tensions flared after the North's long-range rocket launch in December and underground nuclear test in February, both of which were widely condemned.

Pyongyang's fiery rhetoric intensified in March as the U.N. Security Council voted to tighten sanctions on the regime following the nuclear test.

Annual U.S.-South Korean military drills in South Korea also fueled the North's anger, especially when the United States carried out displays of strength that included nuclear-capable B2 stealth bombers.

North Korea is demanding recognition as a nuclear power, something the United States refuses to countenance.

Last month's crisis resulted in the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

CNN's Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
June 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
ADVERTISEMENT