N. Korea fires 3 rockets hours after Seoul justifies US anti-missiles as ‘inevitable self-defense’

FILE PHOTO © KCNA
North Korea has launched three ballistic missiles off its east coast into the sea, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports. The latest test comes just hours after the issue of potential threat from Pyongyang was discussed among regional powers at the G20 summit in China.

The launch on Monday is the latest in a series of more than 10 ballistic tests the North has conducted so far this year. In late August, the Pyongyang military fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile off North Korea’s east coast, a day after US and South Korea started their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military drills.

READ MORE: US-South Korea ‘preemptive attack simulation’ drills enrage Pyongyang

The North test-fired the three ballistic missiles from Hwangju in North Hwanghae Province at around 12:14 p.m. local time, South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message, Yonhap reports. The type of missiles fired and how far they flew was not immediately available.

The latest test comes just hours after the issue of potential North Korean threat was discussed among regional powers at the G20 summit in China.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye told her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that North Korea’s behavior this year has “seriously undermined peace in this region and posed a challenge to the development of the South Korea-China relations.”

The Chinese President told Park that China opposes the US deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

“Mishandling the issue is not conducive to strategic stability in the region and could intensify disputes,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

Park Geun-hye however defended the decision to station the US THAAD anti-missile system as an "inevitable, self-defense" measure to counter threats stemming from Pyongyang.

Beijing, like Russia, continues to worry that the system's radar will be able to track its military capabilities and pose a threat to its national security.

READ MORE: N. Korea launches ballistic missile from submarine amid US-Seoul drills

North Korea has also spoken out against its deployment, threatening to nuke its neighbor and the US base in Guam, in protest at the South’s decision to deploy THAAD anti-missile systems.

In response, North Korea has continued to conduct new military technology tests, including a fourth nuclear test in January, in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions that were tightened in March.