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Seoul Says North Korea Fires 3 Ballistic Missiles

By on September 5, 2016

FILE - In this June 23, 2016, file photo, people watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea's ballistic missile launch published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea could soon be capable of targeting America with nuclear weapons. What can the U.S. do to stop it? Diplomacy and economic sanctions have not worked so far. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says the U.S. can put more pressure on China to rein in its North Korean ally. Democrat Hillary Clinton wants the world to intensify sanctions as the Obama administration did with Iran, a course that eventually opened the way for a deal to contain its nuclear program.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

In this June 23, 2016, photo, people watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea’s ballistic missile launch published in North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast Monday, South Korea’s military said, in a show of force timed to the G-20 economic summit in China.

North Korea regularly engages in missile and rocket tests, especially when international attention is turned to Northeast Asia. World leaders are gathering for the G-20 summit of advanced and emerging economies in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China. Beijing is the North’s only major ally, but ties between the neighbors have frayed amid a string of nuclear and missile tests and what many outsiders see as other provocations in recent years.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the three missiles, launched from the western North Korean town of Hwangju, flew across the country before splashing in the waters off its east coast, but officials did not describe the range of the missiles.

Before the firing, on Monday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, South Korean President Park Geun-hye criticized the North for what she called provocations that are hurting Seoul-Beijing ties.

The launch comes four days before the 68th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s government, and days after South Korean and U.S. troops ended annual joint summertime military drills, which North Korea regularly describes as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

Last month, worries about the North’s weapons programs deepened after a missile from a North Korean submarine flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such a weapon.

The U.N. Security Council in late August strongly condemned four North Korean ballistic missile launches in July and August. It called them “grave violations” of a ban on all ballistic missile activity.

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