North Korea fires missiles as U.S., Japan, South Korea leaders meet
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:29
March 26 - North Korea fired missiles into the sea, as U.S. President Barack Obama brought together the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss how to deal with Pyongyang. Sarah Toms reports.
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The US, South Korea and Japan meet in the Netherlands for talks on North Korea.
But just as these world leaders sat down to discuss how to thaw chilly ties between Pyongyang and its Asian neighbours, North Korea test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles.
It is the first launch of a Rodong missile since 2009 and marks a step up from the short-range rockets Pyongyang has fired in recent weeks.
South Korea condemned the launch, which violates UN resolutions.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREA'S DEFENCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, KIM MIN-SEOK, SAYING:
"As you know, the Rodong missile can attack neighbouring countries. Especially because it has a range which is able to hit most Japanese islands."
Tokyo ordered increased surveillance after the firing off North Korea's east coast towards Japan.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE DEFENSE MINISTER, ITSUNORI ONODERA, SAYING:
"There were two launched as if to match the timing of when Japan, the United States and South Korea were discussing together about North Korea and how to respond to it. So I think it necessary to think that there was some sort of aim behind it."
The timing of the launches also coincides with the annual South Korean-US military drills and the fourth anniversary of the sinking of a Seoul warship. Forty-six sailors were killed in this attack, which Seoul blames on North Korea.
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