North Korea fires short-range projectiles into sea
North Korea fired six short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast yesterday, South Korean officials said, just hours after the United Nations (UN) Security Council approved the toughest sanctions on the North in two decades for its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
The firings also came shortly after South Korea's National Assembly passed its first legislation on human rights in North Korea.
The North Korean projectiles, fired from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan, flew about 100 to 150 kilometres (60 to 90 miles) before landing in the sea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
It wasn't immediately known exactly what North Korea fired, and the projectiles could be missiles, artillery or rockets, South Korea's Defence Ministry said.
North Korea routinely test-fires missiles and rockets, but often conducts weapons launches when angered at international condemnation.
Yesterday's firings were seen as a "low-level" response to the UN sanctions, with North Korea unlikely to launch any major provocation until its landmark ruling Workers' Party convention in May, according to Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
NO OFFICIAL REACTION
North Korea has not issued an official reaction to the new UN sanctions, but citizens in its capital, Pyongyang, interviewed by the Associated Press said yesterday that they believe their country can fight off any sanctions.
The UN sanctions include mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by land, sea or air; a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to the North; and the expulsion of North Korean diplomats who engage in "illicit activities".
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China, North Korea's closest ally, hoped the UN sanctions would be implemented "comprehensively and seriously", while harm to ordinary North Korean citizens would be avoided.