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(LEAD) N. Korea launches surface-to-air missile: JCS

All News 14:20 April 01, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Friday launched a surface-to-air missile into waters off its east coast, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, a move seen as a show of defiance against mounting pressure to give up its nuclear program.

The North fired off the anti-aircraft missile at around 12:45 p.m. from South Hamgyong Province in the country's northeastern area. The missile was fired toward the East Sea, according to the JCS.

It said that the military is on high alert amid heighten cross-border tensions following the North's nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February.

Seoul, earlier thought the North fired a ballistic missile, but on close examination of the trajectory picked up by its radar said it was a surface-to-air missile. The missile flew some 100 kilometers.

The North's provocation came as President Park Geun-hye held a three-way summit with her counterparts from the United States and Japan on Thursday in Washington to discuss how to deal with the North's nuclear weapons program.

Park warned of additional tougher sanctions against North Korea if the communist country carries out another provocation.

Also on Friday, South Korea's defense ministry said that the North is continuing to jam GPS signals in South Korea in an attempt to raise tensions on the peninsula.

The United Nations Security Council imposed the toughest sanctions in decades on North Korea in March over its latest nuclear and missile provocations.

The North has fired off several short-range projectiles and ballistic missiles since March in protest against growing international pressure and ongoing joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.

Pyongyang also warned that it plans to conduct nuclear warhead and ballistic missile tests "in a short time," sparking speculation that it may up the ante and further fuel tensions.


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