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TOKYO, August 14. /ITAR-TASS/. North Korea on Thursday fired three short-range rockets off its east coast, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The agency said, referring to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the rockets fired from the port city Wonsan flew about 220 kilometres into a north-eastern direction.
North Korea has apparently tested the KN-09 300-mm multiple-launch system. The South Korean military said the rockets were launched at 09.30am, local time.
The North’s move came without having declared a no-sailing zone for ships, the agency said. “Our military have strengthened vigilance over the North and maintains readiness for further launches by the North,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has 17 times test-fired short-range ballistic missiles.
DRPK demands that Seoul breaks up relations with US
North Korea has also demanded that the United States withdraws troops from the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang said in a statement on Thursday.
“We demand that Seoul breaks up relations with the United States and settle problems between the North and South exclusively by the efforts of the Korean nation, if Seoul is indeed interested in peace and detente on the peninsula,” North Korea’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea said, quoted by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
According to the document, published on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of liberation of Korea (August 15), North Korea insists that South Korean authorities should take concrete steps to implement agreements between the North and South. Unification of their railways, humanitarian projects and cooperation in the social sphere can only be implemented if the joint declarations of June 15, 2000 and October 4, 2007 are put into practice. “South Korea’s authorities should in deed and not in name demonstrate the desire to improve relations with the DPRK,” the committee said.
Other North Korean demands include cancellation of the South Korean - US major joint maneuvres codenamed Ulchi Freedom Guardian, dismantling of the concrete wall that was built by South Korea in the demilitarised zone, liquidation of all the mechanisms impeding bilateral contacts, visit and cooperation between the North and South.
The North Korean committee has made its statement apparently in response to South Korea’s recent proposal to hold high-level talks with North Korea on the conditions for another meeting of the families, separated by the Korean War of 1950-1953, as well as on a number of issues “of mutual interest". Seoul proposes to discuss these issues at the Panmunjom border checkpoint in the demilitarized zone on August 19.