SEOUL – South Korea on Sunday condemned North Korea’s latest short-range missile launches as “provocative” and again urged it to hold talks about a suspended jointly run industrial park.
Officials in Seoul on Sunday said the North fired another projectile into waters off its eastern coast just a day after it launched three short-range missiles in the same area.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry said the firing occurred Sunday afternoon, but it did not say whether it was a missile or artillery. The North on Saturday launched three short-range guided missiles off its east coast, apparently as part of a military drill, at a time when cross-border relations remain icy after months of simmering tension.
The South and U.S. forces had earlier been on heightened alert for any test of medium-range Musudan missiles by the North, which for weeks made threats of nuclear or conventional attacks on Seoul and Washington.
Saturday’s launch only involved short-range missiles. But it posed threats to the region and should be “stopped immediately,” said the Seoul ministry that handles cross-border affairs.
“We find it deplorable that the North does not stop provocative actions such as the launch of guided missiles yesterday,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Seok.
“We call on the North to take responsible actions for our sake and for the sake of the international community.”
The U.S. State Department on Saturday urged the North to exercise restraint, without specifically commenting on the launches.
Tensions had shown signs of abating after a U.S. defense official said early in May that two Musudan missiles had been moved from their launch site.
Spokesman Kim also urged the North to respond to the South’s repeated calls for talks about the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex, where work has been suspended because of the political standoff.
Kaesong, established just north of the border in 2004 as a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, was the most high-profile casualty of two months of elevated military tensions that followed the North’s atomic test in February.