March 5 - North Korea says its recent rocket launches were part of military exercises. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS EDITED KRT MATERIAL
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION).
STORY: North Korea's state-run television KRT on Wednesday (March 5) said that the recent rocket launches were part of drills conducted in the isolated state.
Launches of short-range missiles by the North are not uncommon as part of regular military exercises.
On Tuesday (March 4), North Korea fired additional short-range missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula using a new multiple rocket launcher, South Korea's defence ministry said. It was the third time in less than a week that the North had conducted missile launches.
"From last February 21 to March 4, our strategic military troops successfully conducted rocket launching exercises in different firepower units under a formal exercise plan," said an unidentified KRT news reader.
"All our revolutionary strength's military actions, without exception, were conducted as defensive actions for justice in order to protect our air, sea and land of the country and people's safety as well as the peace of the region," he added.
The launches came days after the beginning of annual U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises, which the North routinely denounces as rehearsals for war.
North Korea on Wednesday also had a warning for the U.S. and its allies.
"The United States and its followers must remember that if their reckless provocations against us cross a line, our launching exercise of defensive rocket will immediately turn into the most powerful retaliation of offensive rocket launching," said the KRT news reader.
Ties between the two Koreas are often fraught, but two weeks ago, hundreds of South Koreans crossed into the North to be reunited with family members they had not seen since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The reunions, a rare show of cooperation between the two Koreas, were held despite North Korean anger over joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. Last year, the exercises triggered weeks of North Korean threats of war.
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