If anyone cares, North Korea just fired off some short range missiles into the Yellow Sea:
North Korea test-fired four short-range missiles into the East Sea on Thursday.
The Defense Ministry said North Korea fired the first missile at around 5:20 p.m. and the second one at 6:00 p.m. from its launch base in Sinsang-ri, south of Hamheung City in Hamgyeong Province. They were followed by two more at 7:50 and 9:20 p.m.
A ministry official said the missiles are presumed to be KN-01 antiship missiles with a maximum range of 120 to 160 kilometers, and that they flew over 100 kilometers. The official says the KN-01 is presumed to be a modified version of the North’s Silkworm (CSS-C-2) missile with a range of 83 to 95 kilometers.
The ministry suspects the missile launches may be part of a routine military exercise, but did not rule out the possibility that they were a show of force amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. [KBS Global]
Now does this mean that the North Koreans are conducting these missile tests in preparation for a larger missile test as reported on the 4th of July? It is important to keep in mind that the Silkworm missile is not a tactical ballistic missile that is a threat to strike North Korea’s neighbors. You can see the specifications of the Silkworm missile here.
The Silkworm is mainly used as an anti-ship missile, which once again leads me to believe that North Korea is conducting training with these missiles in preparation for any naval engagement along the Northern Limit Line with the ROK Navy. So I would not draw any connections with this test to a possible July 4th test. Plus according to this report there is absolutely no signs that the North Koreans are preparing for a missile test over the holiday weekend anyway:
Responding to foreign media reports suggesting North Korea may launch ballistic missiles early this month, a military official in Seoul said it did not see any signs of an imminent launch at the North’s launch base in Gitdaeryeong, Anbyeon County where the North has been preparing for a mid-range missile launch.
The official said the North is holding regular military drills at Gitdaeryeong and other missile bases and the South Korean military it is keeping close watch on the North’s missile bases as short-range missiles can be fired without preparation.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency said earlier that North Korea may fire another missile on the fourth or eighth of this month as Japan’s Coast Guard announced it has received an e-mail from Pyongyang banning ships from entering ten ocean areas in the East Sea until July eleventh. [KBS Global]
It could be the North Koreans are still trying to fix the technical mistakes from the last missile launch and need more time to correct them. Who knows except for the North Koreans. All we can do is wait and watch and see what happens.