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(LEAD) U.S. confirms N.K. missile launches, identifies one as Rodong, two others as Scud missiles

All News 10:28 July 19, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with Pentagon condemning launches)

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Strategic Command on Monday confirmed North Korea's launch of three ballistic missiles, saying two of them were short-range Scud missiles and the third was a Rodong intermediate-range missile.

"U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) systems detected and tracked what we assess were three North Korean missile launches," the command said in a statement. "The near back-to-back launch of two presumed Scud tactical ballistic missiles, followed by the presumed launch of a No Dong (Rodong) intermediate-range ballistic missile approximately an hour later, occurred near Hwangju."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launches from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, the statement said.

The Defense Department condemned the launches.

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," said Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman.

These provocations only serve to increase the international community's resolve to counter the DPRK's prohibited activities, including through implementing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions, the official said, adding that multiple solutions require the North to suspend all ballistic missile activities.

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

"We intend to raise our concerns at the U.N. to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions," Ross said.

The U.S.' commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan "remains ironclad," he said.

"We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations," he said.


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