South Korea Confirms Plans to Continue THAAD Deployment

North Korea launches four surface-to-ship missiles

North Korea launches four surface-to-ship missiles

The event comes after North Korea last week released dramatic pictures of its latest "successful" ballistic missile test. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy said its Nimitz carrier left San Diego to join the Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan as part of a routine deployment.

"It is also expressing displeasure of the arrival of a United States nuclear submarine in South Korea".

Thursday's launches came after two US aircraft carriers deployed to waters off the Korean Peninsula as a show of force, recently left the Sea of Japan after holding joint exercises with Self-Defense Forces ships and fighter jets.

"North Korea has been stepping up missile tests ... in order to project an image to the world that worldwide sanctions can never bring it to its knees", Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies told AFP.

The missiles are the fourth new missile system North Korea has disclosed and tested this year, sending a defiant message that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington.

The new cruise missile represents a "a step forward in terms of accuracy and range", analyst Kim Dong-Yub of the Kyungnam University Institute for Far Eastern Studies told AFP.

"Our military has strengthened surveillance and alertness readiness in cases of additional provocation by North Korean military and is maintaining all readiness posture while we are tracking and monitoring related situation", the statement read.

"This launch is seen as an armed protest by the regime to show off the accuracy of its anti-ship missiles to warn the USA carrier strike group in the region".

On June 8, North Korea launched four missiles from Wonsan, a port city on the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, into the Sea of Japan.

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Last month, North Korea premiered a powerful new midrange missile that outside experts said flew higher than any other missile previously tested by North Korea.

The North's claims can not be independently confirmed.

Bolivia's U.N. Ambassador Sacha Llorentty Soliz, the current U.N. Security Council president, told reporters Thursday he had not received any requests for a meeting on the latest launches.

On Saturday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said North Korea's nuclear weapons programme was a "threat to all" and called on China, Pyongyang's main ally, to take firmer action in reigning it in. North Korea is said to possess such missiles with a roughly 100km range for use against targets including aircraft carriers.

"Also, the regime could be trying to gain leverage against the USA and South Korea".

Leader Kim Jong-un has spoken of his aim to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the mainland United States with a nuclear weapon.

"I would not say we are comfortably ahead of the threat".

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, says the programme is necessary to counter United States aggression.

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