North Korea has fired seven surface-to-air missiles into waters off its east coast, South Korean officials said on Friday, in the country’s latest missile test coinciding with joint United States-South Korean military exercises.
According to a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry, who spoke on the customary condition of anonymity, the missiles were launched on Thursday evening and landed in the sea after flying as far as about 125 miles,
The fired weapons included at least one SA-5, a medium-to-high-altitude surface-to-air missile with an operational range of about 160 miles. He said it was the first time North Korea had test-fired the SA-5 system, which was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un was believed to have watched the tests on Thursday.
North Korea has conducted various short-range missile tests in recent weeks, including the launching of two Scud-type ballistic missiles on March 2, the day the United States and South Korea began their annual joint military drills.
Although both Washington and Seoul say the annual exercises are defensive in nature, Pyongyang has accused them of rehearsing for an invasion of the North. North Korea has typically responded to such drills with military maneuvers of its own.