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N Korea defiant, fires missile

May 19, 2013

North Korea has fired its fourth missile in two days despite international condemnation against the tests. Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged a return to talks on the Korean Peninsula to mitigate tensions.

A soldier stands beneath a North Korean flag prior to celebrations to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the country's founding leader Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang on April 16, 2012 (Photo: Ed Jones/ AFP/Getty Images)
Image: AFP/Getty Images

North Korea fired Sunday's guided missile into the East Sea (commonly known as the Sea of Japan) on Sunday, according to the South's Defense Ministry. On Saturday, North Korea had fired three short-range missiles, apparently as part of a military drill.

"We find it deplorable that the North does not stop provocative actions such as the launch of guided missiles yesterday," South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok said on Sunday before the latest exercise.

"We call on the North to take responsible actions for our sake and for the sake of the international community," he said.

The reported launches follow months of threats from North Korea of impending war with the US and Seoul. In February, a North Korean nuclear test sparked tougher UN sanctions.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow, UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, called for the North to halt the missile tests, adding that the country should resume talks with the international community to reduce tensions.

"We are very worried over North Korea's provocative action," he told RIA, the Russian state news agency. "I hope North Korea will refrain from further such actions," Ban added. "They must soon return to talks and lower tensions."

mkg/hc (Retuers, AFP, dpa, AP)

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