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North Korea fires three ballistic missiles after unprecedented year of tests

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SEOUL: North Korea fired three ballistic missiles toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, the South Korean military said.

The launches were the latest in an unprecedented number of missile tests conducted by North Korea this year. Pyongyang presses on with weapons development amid speculation it could test a nuclear weapon for the seventh time. The three short-range ballistic missiles were fired from around 8 am local time (2300 GMT) from North Hwanghae Province, South of the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Japan’s defense ministry said all three flew at an altitude of around 100 km (62 miles) and covered a range of around 350 km (217 miles). South Korean military also said the missiles flew about 350 km. “North Korea’s ballistic missile(s) launch is a grave provocation that undermines peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, condemning it as a clear violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution and urging it to stop immediately.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launches did not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or Washington’s allies. Still, they highlighted the destabilizing impact of North Korea’s weapons program. The launches came a day after South Korea’s defence ministry announced it had successfully conducted a test flight of a solid-propellant space launch vehicle.

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