NEWS | North Korea Launches 4 Ballistic Missiles, Further Instability Assured
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NEWS | North Korea Launches 4 Ballistic Missiles, Further Instability Assured

IndraStra Global Editorial Team

NEWS | North Korea Launches 4 Ballistic Missiles, Further Instability Assured

Satellite view of Sohae Satellite Launching Station, Tongchang-Ri, North Korea, Coordinates: 39.665192, 124.707350
Map Imagery: (c) 2017 DigitalGlobe, CNES/Astrium / Map Data: (c) 2017 Google

March 6, 2016 - North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles from its northwest missile base at Tongchang-Ri, three of which landed in Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone situated between Japan and North Korea after traveling 620 miles, as announced by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Japanese Parliament.

The launch took place at 07:36 local time Monday (22:36 GMT Sunday) and was being investigated to determine the type of projectile used by the South Korean military officials.

It is yet unclear what type of missiles were fired, but the North is banned by the UN from any tests of the missile or nuclear technology and it is considered to be a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

These multiple launches have taken place after Pyongyang threatened on last Friday, to fire missiles in response to the Foal Eagle joint military exercises under way between South Korea and the U.S.

However, the North sees the annual drills as preparation for an invasion against it but both South and U.S. considers the drills as defensive in nature which is carried out regularly, openly and transparently for nearly 40 years.

About 3,600 U.S. service members were deployed to join the 28,000 U.S. troops already based in South Korea for the annual exercise, which will run through April 30, 2017.

These tests also comes a day after Seoul quadrupled the award for North Korean defectors and nearly a month after the country had tested a land-based mobile Intermediate-range ballistic missile - Pukguksong-2, claimed to be a new type of strategic weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Earlier last week, the board of South Korea’s Lotte Group approved a land swap agreement with the South Korean military to provide land for the deployment of the United States’ THAAD missile defense system. The agreement was later signed formally on Feb 28, 2016, and could allow THAAD to be deployed as early as July of this year.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis welcomed the land transfer. 

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis later said. "This is a critical measure that we're taking to defend the Korean people and alliance forces against North Korean missile threats, a very serious threat as highlighted by the Feb. 12 ballistic missile launch by North Korea."

THAAD itself has led businesses in South Korea to face the heat in their China operations. China says the system would upset the military balance in the region and risk undermining its own security.

Recently, Lotte suffers setbacks in several of its Chinese ventures -- from last month's government-ordered halt of the construction of a $2.6 billion theme park project to apparent cyber-attacks on company websites.

Citing fire violations, authorities in Liaoning's Dandong city have also suspended the operation of Lotte Mart, the Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday.

Earlier this week, major tour operators confirmed to AFP that trips to South Korea have been suspended "due to policy and safety factors."

Calls are growing in China for Beijing to use the carrot and stick of its huge market to raise pressure on South Korea to abandon the THAAD plan.