North Korean Missile Launches Don't Rattle U.S.

A fake North Korean Scud missile is seen Monday alongside South Korean missiles at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul. The Pentagon on Monday played down the threat posed by the North's three-day string of short-range missile launches (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man).
A fake North Korean Scud missile is seen Monday alongside South Korean missiles at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul. The Pentagon on Monday played down the threat posed by the North's three-day string of short-range missile launches (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man).

The U.S. Defense Department on Monday expressed little concern over North Korea's string of six short-range missing firings spread across three days, Reuters reported.

"A few months ago, we saw underground nuclear tests, we saw long-range missile tests, we saw heated rhetoric," noted Pentagon spokesman George Little. "So I think we can safely say that we remain in a period of tensions that are relatively on a small scale by comparison."

North Korean launches of limited-range missiles are a fairly frequent occurrence that do not garner the same concern as the nation's December long-range rocket firing or its February underground atomic detonation. Pyongyang ramped up its threats over the spring after being hit with new U.N. Security Council sanctions for the nuclear test, but tensions have cooled in recent weeks.

The North's missing firings from Saturday to Monday are not necessarily a breach of the "provocation pause," Bloomberg quoted Little as saying.

A South Korean government insider told the Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday that Pyongyang had lifted a prohibition on sea vessels from an area along its east coast, suggesting the missile launches were finished for the moment.

Seoul has said the "projectiles" fired into the sea in recent days, either missiles or rockets, had ranges between 75 and 93 miles, which would put the South Korean capital within targeting distance.

Meanwhile, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet on June 7 and 8 in California for talks expected to address North Korea, the Associated Press reported.

The Obama administration has pressed China to take greater steps to persuade its neighbor and ally to halt provocations and return to multilateral negotiations on North Korean denuclearization.

May 21, 2013
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The U.S. Defense Department on Monday expressed little concern over North Korea's string of six short-range missing firings spread across three days, Reuters reported.

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