Japan, US security officials agree to cooperate over N. Korea

Japan, US security officials agree to cooperate over N. Korea

Japan, US security officials agree to cooperate over N. Korea

North Korea's three short-range missile launches appear to have either failed in flight or exploded nearly immediately, the US military said on Friday, adding they had posed no threat to North America or Guam.

Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated the missiles had traveled over 150 miles before plunging into the Sea of Japan.

Though North Korea says it now has the ability to send missiles to the U.S. mainland, USA defense officials said these short-range missiles did not pose a threat to North America or Guam.

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South Korea's presidential office held a national security council meeting to discuss the missiles, which are the first known launches since July, when the North successfully flight tested a pair of intercontinental ballistic missiles that analysts say could reach deep into the USA mainland when perfected. It said earlier that the third missile appears to have blown up immediately.

"Although the launches were no threat to Guam, it reminds us that we can not be complacent", said George Charfauros, the homeland security adviser on the United States territory.

At the time of the tests, North Korean state media showed leader Kim Jong Un overseeing a special forces operation which simulated strikes on South Korean islands, Ripley said. Pyongyang labels the exercises as a provocative rehearsal for an invasion, while South Korea and the US insist they are purely defensive in nature.

Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said that South Korean assessment doesn't necessarily contradict the United States evaluation that the launches involved ballistic missiles.

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"We hope that North Korea could positively respond to our offer of talks", said an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

The U.S. and South Korea started their annual joint military exercises Monday amid threats from Pyongyang that the drills could spark a "second Korean war". The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, confirmed that the missiles did not pose a threat to North America.

The region where the latest missiles were launched, Kittaeryong, is a known military test site often used by the North for short-range missile drills, said Professor Kim Dong Yup, a military expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. The North's latest missile provocation comes after two successful ICBM launches last month.

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