North Korea angers neighbors over ramped-up missile launches

North Korea appears to have followed through on its promise to “retaliate” against U.S.-South Korea military drills.

Monday morning, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off the coast of Japan; now, the Japanese, as well as the South Koreans, are not happy.

Although South Korean officials do not see these missiles as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), they said the missiles flew a distance of about 620 miles and reached a height of around 160 miles.

The Japanese defense minister, Tomomi Inada confirmed that the missiles landed only 190 miles off the coast of Japan.

Last month, the North Koreans launched a missile test and said it would continue to launch new and strategic weapons.

President Trump has stated his desire to “rein in” the North Korean government and its leader, Kim Jong Un, and has discussed several options with his national security deputies. These options include the possibility of direct U.S. missile strikes on North Korea’s launch sites or even bringing nuclear weapons to South Korea.

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South Korea originally had nuclear weapons in the country but they were withdrawn years ago.

Woo Sang-ho, a leader of South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party is against bringing them back.

Sang-ho said at a party meeting:

“The claim that we should redeploy nuclear weapons here, 20 years after they were withdrawn, is total nonsense. I am formally asking the United States not to bring this issue up for consideration.”

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe told his parliament: “The launches are clearly in violation of Security Council resolutions. It is an extremely dangerous action.”

South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn also spoke out against the missile launch, saying they intend on deploying the U.S. anti-missile defense system. However, that declaration angered the Chinese.

The U.S. military has observed the North Korean missile launch and said it did not pose a threat to North America.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said this at a daily news briefing in regards to the N. Korean missile launch and the intended response by South Korea:

“All sides should exercise restraint and not do anything to irritate each other to worsen regional tensions.”

H/T: Reuters

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