Skip to main content

Report: North Korea launches fourth short-range missile

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
May 19, 2013 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korea fired its fourth short-range missile in two days, South Korea tells news agency
  • Missiles were fired into the sea off the Korean Peninsula's east coast, Yonhap reports
  • Tensions in the region have eased since a peak last month

Are you from South or North Korea? Send us your experiences.

(CNN) -- North Korea fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, according to South Korea's semiofficial news agency Yonhap, citing a South Korean military official.

On Saturday, North Korea launched three short-range guided missiles into the sea, also known as the East Sea, off the Korean Peninsula's east coast, Yonhap reported.

The missiles on Saturday were fired in a northeasterly direction, away from South Korean waters, the ministry said.

South Korea has beefed up monitoring on North Korea and is maintaining a high level of readiness to deal with any risky developments, the ministry added, according to Yonhap.

According to the Arms Control Association, a U.S.-based organization, short-range guided missiles are generally classified as those traveling less than 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles).

North Korea rattles saber again
Memories of fighting for North Korea
Orphaned and homeless in North Korea

Tensions in the region have eased since a period last month that included near daily North Korean threats of war.

Opinion: What North Korea could learn from Myanmar

U.S. and South Korean officials feared at that time that Kim Jong Un's regime was planning to carry out a test launch of longer-range ballistic missiles, believed to be Musudans. The South Korean government says they have a maximum range of 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles).

Andrew Salmon, a journalist and author based in the South Korean capital, Seoul, said North Korea's reported launch of short-range missiles Saturday should not cause the same degree of concern as the launch of a satellite or medium-range Musudan rocket.

"It's a short-range tactical weapon. If any other country launched this kind of weapon, it's a routine test, nobody would be too worried. It's really simply because it's North Korea doing this that it raises concerns," he said.

The situation is much less tense in the region than it was last month, Salmon said.

"The North Koreans have significantly de-escalated their bellicosity and their rhetoric since the end of April," he said. "The South Korean government, I suspect, will not be strongly condemnatory of this test because right now they are very, very keen to get the North Koreans to the negotiating table."

Orphaned and homeless: Surviving the streets of North Korea

The recent tensions flared after the North's long-range rocket launch in December and underground nuclear test in February, both of which were widely condemned.

Pyongyang's fiery rhetoric intensified in March as the U.N. Security Council voted to tighten sanctions on the regime following the nuclear test.

Annual U.S.-South Korean military drills in South Korea also fueled the North's anger, especially when the United States carried out displays of strength that included nuclear-capable B2 stealth bombers.

North Korea is demanding recognition as a nuclear power, something the United States refuses to accept.

Last month's crisis resulted in the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

How a North Korean camp escapee changed human rights

CNN's Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Kim Jong Il's former bodyguard tells of beatings and starvation while imprisoned in the country's most notorious prison camp.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0559 GMT (1359 HKT)
The chief of the Commission of Inquiry into North Korea's human rights says the world can no longer plead ignorance to the regime's offenses.
November 10, 2014 -- Updated 1834 GMT (0234 HKT)
Putting the United States at the same table as lawless thugs isn't just morally repugnant -- it's ineffective, writes Christian Whiton.
November 9, 2014 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
Why did North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agree to released American prisoners Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller?
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT)
North Korea has released photos that claim to show leader Kim Jong Un, whose absence for over a month has raised speculation.
October 11, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Despite tense relations, China benefits from Kim Jong Un's rule in North Korea. David McKenzie explains.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0851 GMT (1651 HKT)
North Korea has "the world's most advantageous human rights system," the country declares.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 0135 GMT (0935 HKT)
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions Monday in an exclusive interview with CNN.
May 28, 2013 -- Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT)
Beijing-based tour company posts exclusive photos and video from inspection visit.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0852 GMT (1652 HKT)
The crowd cheers as the stars make their way to the ring for first pro-wrestling bout North Korea has seen in almost 20 years.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
Visiting the DPRK is easy these days, so long as you don't forget to play by their rules.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
CNN's Will Ripley is given a rare look inside North Korea and tours Kim Jong Un's pet project, a waterpark.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
ADVERTISEMENT