March 13, 2015 / 6:33 AM / 3 years ago

North Korea test fires seven surface-to-air missiles - South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea test-fired seven surface-to-air missiles off its east coast on Thursday, and its leader Kim Jong Un appeared to have been an observer, South Korea’s military said on Friday.

The test prompted the Pentagon to urge Pyongyang to stop provocative actions that aggravate tensions in the region and instead fulfill their legal obligations to the international community.

“We encourage them to stop bombing fish and to begin feeding their own people,” Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters.

An official at the South Korea’s defense ministry said the missiles fell into the sea.

“We believe they test-fired different kinds of surface-to-air missiles and the longest range is about 200 km (125 miles),” the official said. “It appears Kim Jong Un observed the firing.”

The test came as the United States and South Korea finished the first of two large-scale annual military exercises on Friday. The exercise, called “Key Resolve,” began earlier this month.

The other joint military exercise, known as “Foal Eagle”, will last until April 24, according to the U.S. military.

The exercises anger North Korea, which considers them a preparation for war against it.

The North often tests missiles at the time of the exercises to register its defiance. It also test-fired two short-range missiles at the start of the joint exercises.

North Korea’s state media said on Thursday that Kim inspected an island military unit on the east coast, accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo Jong. It made no mention of any missile tests.

Reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul and David Alexander in Washington; editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Bernard Orr

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