North Korea fired multiple ballistic missiles off its east coast early Saturday local time, U.S. officials said, The Hill reports. U.S. Pacific Command said three short-range missiles were launched from Kittaeryong, Kangwon province, with two failing in flight while the third “appears to have blown up almost immediately”.
U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. David Benham said the three missile launches didn’t pose a threat to North America nor did they pose a threat to Guam, a U.S. island territory in the Pacific previously threatened by the North.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles flew about 155 miles, according to Yonhap News Agency.
U.S. and South Korea’s militaries are analyzing the launch, officials said. Meanwhile, the White House said that President Trump had been briefed and aides were monitoring the situation. It’s the first reported launch since new sanctions were passed by the United Nations Security Council in early August in retaliation for previous missile launches. The reclusive regime had previously fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, prompting international condemnation.
Tensions escalated in August between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear and missiles programs. But rhetoric had tempered in recent days, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday saying he was “pleased” by the North’s “restraint” in recent weeks.
“We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for — that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they’re ready to restrain their provocative acts and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue,” Tillerson said at a press briefing.