Reuters news agency reports today that as the United States and South Korea begin their joint military drills, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. North Korea routinely criticizes the annual drill and takes provocative action that draws strong condemnation from other countries in the region. This year was no exception as four missiles were fired from the Tongchang-ri region near North Korea’s border with China. The missiles fell into the Sea of Japan, however, one missile landed within 200 miles of Japan triggering a strong protest from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn condemned the launches as a direct challenge to the international community. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “All sides should exercise restraint and not do anything to irritate each other to worsen regional tensions.” The US had nuclear missiles stationed in South Korea but removed them in 1991 as both Koreas signed a declaration on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. However, North Korea has defied the agreement by pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Reuters story found here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-idUSKBN16C0YU?il=0