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North Korea missile launches: Pyongyang toying with foes? (+video)

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(Read caption) North Korea launches another missile into ocean
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North Korea on Monday continued to fire short-range projectiles from its east coast into the ocean, according to South Korean and US officials. The North Korean military has now launched six such weapons over the past three days.

US officials and experts outside government aren’t sure exactly what the projectiles are. They could be short-range missiles, or they could be rockets fired from a large-caliber gun. Both would travel similar ballistic paths.

Either weapon could reach Seoul and other important targets in South Korea. Over the weekend, the US urged North Korea to stop test shots and other provocative actions, saying they will only further isolate the hermit-like Pyongyang regime.

“We continue to urge the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama’s call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations,” said National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden.

What’s North Korea up to? Are the tests just routine weapon development?

That’s possible. If the weapons are indeed a new type of rocket-propelled artillery, North Korea could be test-firing projectiles to see how they work.

But given the tensions on the Korean Peninsula it’s also possible that North Korea is engaging in a little flexing of its military hardware. Missile launches are a common North Korean reaction to what it considers to be threats from its neighbor to the south and the US.

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