Sunday, July 05, 2009

An appeal for calm after July 4th North Korean missile fireworks

Russia, China and the US have all called for calm after North Korea test-fired a series of missiles on July 4th.

Seven Scud-type ballistic missiles with a range of about 500km (312 miles) were fired in an apparent act of defiance against the US on the 4th of July. This follows an underground nuclear test in May, and a launches of a number of missiles since the test, including four short-range missiles on Thursday.

Saturday's launches came from a base on its east coast. Three were fired in the morning, a fourth around noon local time and three more in the afternoon, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Some analysts suggest Pyongyang's bellicosity could be linked to internal issues, amid questions over the health of leader Kim Jong-il after his apparent stroke last year. Some believe the nuclear and missiles tests could be a show of strength aimed at securing internal support for his plans.

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