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U.S. revises assessment on North Korean missile launches

  • North Korea launched three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea near Japan on Saturday morning, according to U.S. and South Korean military.
  • The U.S. Pacific Command revised its earlier assessment of the latest North Korean missile launches, saying the first and third projectiles did not fail in flight.
  • Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham says the two missiles flew about 155 miles. It said earlier that the third missile appears to have blown up immediately.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (2nd R) inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 on July 4, 2017
STR | Getty Images
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (2nd R) inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 on July 4, 2017

North Korea launched three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea near Japan on Saturday morning, according to U.S. and South Korean military.

The U.S. Pacific Command revised its earlier assessment of the latest North Korean missile launches, saying the first and third projectiles did not fail in flight.

Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham says the two missiles flew about 155 miles. It said earlier that the third missile appears to have blown up immediately.

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The North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) determined the missiles "did not pose a threat to North America."

South Korean officials convened a National Security Council meeting Saturday to discuss the issue. Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters that officials "reviewed the defense posture" of South Korean troops.

He said that military would "proceed more thoroughly" with the ongoing Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, a joint training drill between South Korea and the U.S. that started Monday.

The incident happened amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, which has been warned by President Trump about missile build-up and development of nuclear armaments.

North Korea's military had threatened missile launches toward the U.S. territory of Guam, where the U.S. has several military installations. It's unclear where the three missiles fired Saturday were targeted, although the U.S. Pacific Command said the missiles posed no threat to Guam.

Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said the island territory will be watching the situation closely.

"Although the launches were no threat to Guam, it reminds us that we cannot be complacent," Charfauros said. "We place confidence in our U.S. Department of Defense capabilities and continue open communications with our federal and military partners."

The White House said Trump was briefed on the latest North Korean activity and "we are monitoring the situation."

South Korean military leaders said the missiles were fired from a site in the eastern province of Gangwon. At least one of them flew about 250 miles before crashing into the sea, South Korean military leaders said.

"The military is keeping a tight surveillance over the North to cope with further provocations", the South Korean defense ministry said.

Contributing: Jim Michaels and Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY; Dana Williams of the Pacific Daily News.