North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Tuesday morning.
The missiles were launched between 5:45 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. local time and were fired from North Hwanghae province in the western part of North Korea.
The missiles are believed to be short-range, Scud or Rodong type and flew around 500 to 600 kilometres.
While some North Korean claims have been treated with scepticism and ridicule, analysts are treating the unusual pace of North Korean rocket and nuclear testing quite seriously.
Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told US Congress in March 2016,
“It’s the prudent decision on my part to assume that Kim Jong Un has the capability to miniaturise a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM.”
North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on 23 April 2016; while the missile only travelled 30 km, one US analyst noted that “North Korea’s sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious”.
Tokyo denounced North Korea’s multiple missile launch:
“We urge strongly that North Korea restrain from further activities, and will take all possible measures to deal with any situation.”
The move comes as the US and South Korea recently agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) defence system to defend against the North’s increasing nuclear and missile capabilities.
THAAD is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system “designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach”.