North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile?

North Korea performed another launching Monday of an anti-ship missile, the second one in the past two weeks, defense ministries in Tokyo and Seoul, which are watching North Korea's military preparations, report.

However, according to the National Defense Department of Japan, this time it was not a ballistic missile.

The Defense Ministry of South Korea reports that the anti-ship missile dropped in the Sea of Japan 110 kilometers off the shore. Its maximum range does not exceed 160 km.

The previous launching of a missile of a ground-ship class was made in North Korea on February 24. But, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry, the launching was unsuccessful - the missile missed the target.

The missile program of North Korea is a source of great concern for Japan, as a ballistic Taepo Dong-1 missile, which theoretically is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, flew over its territory in 1998 and dropped into the ocean. Having demonstrated in this way its capability, Pyongyang imposed a unilateral moratorium on missile testing until 2003 and then announced its unlimited prolongation. However, as North Korea's relations with the U.S. and Japan have been worsening, the North Korean leadership has repeatedly warned about a possibility of canceling the moratorium.

The launching by North Korea of short-range anti-ship missiles is not a violation of the moratorium, experts in Japan and South Korea say.

The present shooting on the eastern shore of North Korea with the use of ground-ship missiles coincided with large-scale Toksuri-Fowl Eagle military exercises, in which a U.S. aircraft carrier was planned to be used.