North Korea launches short-range missiles as US and South Korea begin annual drills

1 March 2015 (Last Updated March 1st, 2015 18:30)

North Korea has launched two short-range missiles into the East Sea in an apparent response to ongoing South Korean-US military exercises, code-named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.

South Korean-US military exercises

North Korea has launched two short-range missiles into the East Sea in an apparent response to ongoing South Korean-US military exercises, code-named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.

In a statement seen by the Yonhap News Agency, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said: "North Korea fired two short-range missiles with a range of some 490km into the East Sea from its western port city of Nampo between 6:32am and 6:41am today."

"The firing appears to be the North's provocations in opposition to the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises."

The missiles are assumed to be Scud-C types, owing to the speed, altitude and distance travelled.

North Korea has repeatedly called for the exercises to be cancelled, arguing that they are a provocation and a prelude to an invasion, despite the US maintaining that the drills are aimed at enhancing operational readiness.

A North Korean People's Army general staff spokesperson was quoted by the Korean Central News Agency as saying: "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are an undisguised encroachment upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK, and unpardonable war hysteria of dishonest hostile forces.

"The firing appears to be the North's provocations in opposition to the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises."

"The only means to cope with the aggression and war ... Is neither dialogue nor peace. They should be dealt with only by merciless strikes."

Involving 10,000 South Korean and 8,600 US troops, the Key Resolve 2015 annual command post exercise aims to ensure that the alliance is prepared to defend South Korea, while training alliance forces to respond to any potential event on the peninsula.

Foal Eagle is a series of joint and combined field training exercises involving ground, air, naval and special operations, and features 200,000 South Korean and 3,700 US soldiers.

Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are scheduled to conclude on 13 March and 24 April, respectively.


Image: US soldiers during Exercise Key Resolve 14 at North Star Range near Camp Stanley, South Korea. Photo: courtesy of Spc Gregory T. Summers.